M, Me and Mascots

I can’t remember the last time I attended Festival du Voyageur. I must have been under the age of ten and I probably arrived there on a school bus carrying 40-50 other French-learning children. This week in my journalism class, we were assigned to take photos at the annual French-Canadian festival taking place in our lovely Winnipeg. I thought of M immediately. He would love the frozen maple syrup taffy, the French-Canadian music, and the ice sculptures, wouldn’t he? I decided to take him with me to the Mascot Challenge event that took place at Voyageur Park on Saturday, Feb. 20th.

As it turned out, I was wrong. M was wildly unimpressed by the Festival du Voyageur atmosphere and refused to give me the satisfaction of seeing him smile. He definitely didn’t want any frozen maple syrup either.

“I don’t want to be here, Becca,” he said, scowling. “It’s time to go home.”

When even mini donuts failed to cheer him up, I gave up hope. I told him we could go home and I resolved to take my photos another day. But just then, the Festival du Voyageur mascot Léo LaTuque came around the corner, signalling the start of the Mascot Challenge. M, suddenly smiling, ran to join the rest of the children in gathering excitedly around the big, colourful characters. Thank goodness for mascots.

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M, full of sass and sulking before the arrival of the many mascots participating in Festival du Voyageur’s Mascot Challenge on Saturday./REBECCA DAHL
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M finally smiling as Festival du Voyageur mascot, Léo LaTuque, arrives at Voyageur Park./REBECCA DAHL
Four-year-old William Barrette was one of the most eager to get a hug from Trusty, the mascot for Winnipeg Block Parents./REBECCA DAHL
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The mascots bringing the energy and pumping up the crowd despite the cold./REBECCA DAHL
Mick E. Moose collapses in defeat as the opposing team of mascots tugs the rope to their victorious side of the tug of war challenge./REBECCA DAHL
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The Mascot Challenge wasn’t just for kids—23-year-old Mackenzie Sapacz wasn’t going to leave without a photo of herself with Assiniboia Downs’ mascot, Charley Horse./REBECCA DAHL
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M (far left) buzzing with excitement as he joins the mascots and the other children to take a great big group photo./Rebecca Dahl

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