Stade Municipal painted green for Celtic Night

Photo: Jay Ouellet

Capitales' pitcher Eric Gagné donned a green shirt for the Celtic Festival.

The grass wasn't all that was green at Stade Municipal last weekend.

Les Capitales de Quebec wore Celtic green jerseys and the stands were dotted with the fabled colour as the local baseball team helped the Morrin Centre honour the city's Celtic heritage last weekend. The sounds of Celtic music filled the pre-game air Saturday, courtesy of the Matching Keys.

"That was great," said Erin Zoellner, the Morrin Centre's cultural affairs coordinator since January of this year. "People really loved them."

The three days of festivities also featured performances by the Shannon Irish Dancers and a fireworks display following Saturday's game against the New Jersey Jackals.

"It was really a lot of fun," said Zoellner. "We were able to hand out 2,000 pamphlets for the Celtic Festival. It was definitely good visibility for us."

Raising the centre's visibility in the community has been a stated goal of the Morrin Centre's new executive director, Simon Jacobs.

The festival is scheduled for Sept. 4, 5 and 6 at the centre, where Zoellner said final preparations are underway.

Zoellner was among a group of about 20 volunteers selling t-shirts advertising the Festival at the main stadium entrance and outside the ballpark during Saturday's game, where a standing-room crowd of over 5,000 fans watched Les Capitales face their Can-Am League rivals, the New Jersey Jackals.


Photo by Jay Ouellet - Bill Vincent


The Luck of the Irish didn't rub off on the local heroes, despite the presence on the mound of pitcher Eric Gagne, the once and perhaps future big league star, who has played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers and Milwaukee Brewers.

Les Capitales dropped two of three to the Jackals, dropping the team into a first place tie with the Brockton Rox.

Gagne did show off his best Irish temper, getting tossed from Saturday's match after a close play at first base that he disputed a little too forcefully, but Zoellner was grateful nonetheless for ex-major leaguer's appearance.

"I think it helped (build attendance) and the weather helped," said Zoellner of of the warm sunny early evening that has been a rare sight in the city this summer.

Zoellner is "optimistic," judging by the response at the ballpark last weekend, that this year's festival will outdo last year's event, which drew an estimated 6,000 people in the midst of the city's 400th anniversary celebration.

The festival will feature two stages, one outside, the other inside the Morrin Centre, as well as kiosks where people will be able to sell their wares.

The lion's share of the festival will be free of charge, with the exceptions of the whiskey tasting, scheduled for both Sept. 4 and 5, which will cost $30; the closing Fest Noz concert, $12; a Bodhran drum workshop, $10, and two calligraphy workshops, for which a charge of $5 applies.

The $5 charge for the calligraphy workshop will cover the cost of materials that festival goers can use in producing their own work, which they will then be able to take home with them.

Additionally, Pub Saint-Alexandre on Rue Saint-Jean will be the stage for performances by Solstace and Dave Gossage Sept. 4 at 9:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, a silent auction will take place Friday and Saturday at Stade Municipal, where the actual game jerseys worn last weekend by Les Capitales will be sold. Additionally, Gagne's game jersey will be signed by the entire team before being put up for bid. The proceeds will go directly towards the Celtic Festival.