Frenchtown's roots celebrated in modern St. Jean Baptiste Day fete

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The first St. Jean Baptiste Day celebration in the Walla Walla Valley in modern times, according to a release, will be June 24.

It echoes the French-Canadian event celebrated around Canada and in some northern parts of the U.S. since 1834.

According to frenchtownpartners.org, bonfires, fireworks and dancing are featured.

This fete coincides with summer solstice, ringing of bells, concerts, parades, and fairs.

Sponsored by Frenchtown Historical Foundation and Waterbrook Winery, the local celebration will offer free activities beginning at noon at the Frenchtown Historic Site on Old Highway 12, two miles west of the Whitman Mission.

Also being held is the annual meeting of the Frenchtown Historical Foundation.

At 1 p.m., there will be a discussion of Frenchtown cabin locations, along with guided tours of the Frenchtown site by living history company characters and others.

A tour of five Frenchtown cabin sites begins at 2:30 p.m., including histories of the families who lived there, followed by closing remarks back at the Frenchtown site at 4 p.m.

Evening activities begin 7 p.m. at Waterbrook Winery, 10518 W. Highway 12, including music and dancing, food, drink and a bonfire.

Admission to this event is $18 for the general public.

A portion of each ticket price will go to the Frenchtown Historical Foundation for maintenance costs of the Frenchtown site.

Performers include the Frenchtown Dance Troupe, a local French-Canadian fiddle band and others.

Food and drink will be available for purchase.

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