Jason Enlow on the Quebec City Fall Fest Experience

Jason Enlow on the Quebec City Fall Fest Experience

Fall Fest is not funny. Fun, yes, funny, not so much. It makes it difficult for a fellow, such as me, to write an informative, yet light-hearted article about it. I decided that I would start off by trying to get Elaine Wait to make me laugh. She was there representing her church, Quebec Baptist. I thought I read somewhere that most comedians were Baptists, but now I realize that I just made that up. Elaine told me that, “last year was very positive. Fall Fest is a great place to meet people, get connected and get ourselves known”. And that just about sums it up. That’s exactly what Fall Fest is all about, and everyone I spoke with concurred. That’s great, now what am I going to write about?

I moved on to the Quebec Art Company kiosk thinking that actors would certainly know how to make me crack a smile. I forgot that acting can be a serious business. Mark Lepitre, Cheryl Rimmer and Natalie Peron were there to promote the QAC’s upcoming production of “Guys and Dolls”. I took two steps to the left and almost asked CBC’s Peter Black to pull my finger but thought the better of it when I saw the snazzy notebooks he was handing out. The joke was on Peter anyway because he asked me if I was from the New York Times, and I wasn’t. I also met Kyle Griffin from the Morrin Centre, a name which is easily mispronounced. The Morrin Centre used to be a prison and there’s nothing funny about incarceration.

I’ve heard that the Irish have the gift of the gab and I was hoping for a good knock, knock joke. But after speaking with Mike Noonan from Irish Heritage Quebec, I realized that perhaps I was the problem. I never did kiss the Blarney Stone when I was in Ireland because the line up was too long and now I’m living to regret it. Close by was the CEDEC booth with Michèle Thibeau and Joanne Toms. They tried to tickle my funny bone with a hilarious story of how their Small Business Support Network was started to support English-speaking entrepreneurs in Québec. It sounded definitely helpful, but it was a very far cry from Monty Python’s Funniest Joke in the World sketch.

I found it interesting that this year the VEQ thought to invite participants from outside both the French and English communities. There were performances by Filipiniana Dance Troupe, Feista Andina and Ritmo Cubano. Victor Montenegro was there from Casa Latinamericano, an organisation that’s been around for 28 years and offers courses and services in Spanish. Representatives from the The Noella Project were there. They work to raise money to help reunite war-torn refugee families. This is certainly nothing to laugh about. I did try and get the laughter ball rolling by cackling and guffawing during the excellent performances of the Shannon Irish Dancers and the 78th Fraser Highlanders but people didn’t join in and parents clutched their children a little closer while moving steadily away from me.

Actually, most everyone was happy to answer my innocuous questions, except the barrette lady, she wanted nothing to do with me. She could probably tell a bad egg when she saw one. Speaking of eggs, I went to get a burrito from the Mexican. Whoa hold on! I’m not stereotyping a minority; I’m talking about the Le Mexicain restaurant in Charlesbourg, the owner was there. I ordered a burrito and promptly dropped it on the floor when he handed it over. I glanced around to see if anyone was snickering at my juggling antics and then snatched it up before the count of three, so it was still fit to eat.

Speaking of juggling, Pakane the clown was there. Get it? Pecan? Nut? Come to think of it, she was a little nutty, but she was doing a good job at painting Eva Marcolin’s face. There was a lot of other free stuff there for the taking. I got a couple of green pencils from St. Pat’s, a handy Post It carrier from Heather Croft at the Valcartier Family Center table and lots of Jeffery Hale Community Service brochures. (Which reminds me, I forgot to snag one of those notebooks from the CBC stash…) Reps from the Toastmasters called me over and I had to confess that I’d never had trouble making toast. Jean, Bobby and Désirée let me know that Toastmasters has nothing to do with breakfast and everything to do with helping men and women become more confident in front of an audience. There might be hope for me yet.

I went over to ask Andrew Greenfield if he had heard the one about the priest, the rabbi and the Buddhist flying in a Cessna but he was too busy selling books at his AngloStore table and fielding questions. I found it mildly amusing to overhear a woman talking to him about a book her friend had written about Sarah Palin. There were lots of other tables with organisations eager to reach out to the English community that I haven’t mentioned and many more people there than I can write about in an article that has already gone 421 words longer than it was supposed to. I think Chelsea Baker, the librarian from Ste-Foy Elementary who was there with her husband Gino and their two girls, said it best, “I’m here to see who I can see”. If you weren’t there, you missed it, but there’s always next year.

Categories: Events

About Author

Jason Enlow

Jason Enlow is a Special Education Technician at an English elementary school. He was born in Montreal, Quebec and grew up in Burlington, Ontario. Jason studied Radio and Television at Ryerson University in Toronto. His previous employers include CityTV, CBC, The Weather Network, and Global Television. He’s worked as a DJ, camera operator, musician, teacher, translator and video game content designer. Jason moved to Quebec City in 1997 where he still lives today with his wife and three sons.