WINNIPEG -- Preparations are underway for next month’s Festival du Voyageur, but the event will look quite different compared to past years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year’s event will take place virtually instead of at Voyageur Park, but will still offer a concert series, snow sculptures, and food and drink.

“Even though we can’t get together in Voyageur Park this year, we wanted to make sure that February still brought that signature Festival du Voyageur joie de vivre to Manitobans – especially now when we all need it the most,” said Darrel Nadeau, executive director of Festival du Voyageur, in a news release.

“We put a lot of thought into ensuring that every signature element of our festival is reflected in our virtual offerings and we are really excited about what we came up with.”

The 2021 Festival du Voyageur will broadcast eight days of concerts, featuring 40 artists, including Ariel Posen, Celeigh Cardinal, and Faouzia as a special guest.

This concert series will be accessible through Facebook and Youtube, and will take place Feb. 12 to 15 and Feb. 18 to 21. 

“Well, this year we’ve moved to a virtual format, so the first thing that people should know about are virtual concerts,” Nadeau said.

“These will be taking place over eight of our 10 days between Feb. 12 and 21. Eight of those nights, some nights with Indigenous artists, some nights with Anglophone artists, some nights with Francophone artists, and it will be completely free.”

Festival organizers have also put together two video series to highlight different parts of the festival. These will be released online leading up to the event to get people in the Festival du Voyageur Spirit.

“The events that are online are free,” Nadeau said.

“We’re going to have also videos teaching people how to make maple taffy from home, how to make French-Canadian food from home, things like that. Those will be free as well.”

As for food and drink, Winnipeggers will be able to order take-home meals from Promenade Café and Wine, featuring tourtière, pea soup and bannock.

Patent 5 Distillery will also be offering the signature ice glasses, as well as Festival du Voyageur-inspired cocktails for people to enjoy at home.

“The things that will cost a bit of money are our meal kits,” Nadeau said.

“We’re very excited about the meal kits. People really love French-Canadian food at Festival du Voyageur.”

This year’s festival will also offer snow sculptures around the city, a number of different competitions, and a virtual kids zone.

“We’re hoping to spread the word for people to tune in and watch Festival du Voyageur,” Nadeau said.

“People love Festival and hopefully they’re looking for something to do during that time.”

Festival du Voyageur is taking place from Feb. 12 to the 21. More information can be found online 

- With files from CTV's Rachel CrowSpreadingWings