Hill Mill Hockey A group of boys plays hockey in the parking lot of Hill Mill in Lewiston, circa 1960. (photo courtesy of the Franco-American Collection, University of Southern Maine Lewiston-Auburn College)

Franco Heritage: classes, events & performances

  • Quebec Sugar Camp (Cabane à Sucre MÉGANTIC) Trip
    Apr 14
    6:45 am - 7:00 pm

    Quebec Sugar Camp (Cabane à Sucre MÉGANTIC) Trip

    You are invited to Join friends and family on Another very special Day Trip to

    Cabane à Sucre MÉGANTIC (Sugar Camp)

    SATURDAY, April 14, 2018

    Departing by bus from the Gendron Franco Center at 6:45 a.m.
    (Coffee and breakfast snacks in Heritage Hall, starting a 6:15 a.m.)

     $70/person

    Home-cooked feast, live music, bus fare and all-day parking are included.  Our group will return home from Lac-Mégantic, Québec by 7 p.m.  We will travel by bus; passports are needed.  Part of proceeds will benefit the Gendron Franco Center.

    To reserve and pay for your spot, call or visit the Franco Center, 46 Cedar Street,  Lewiston, ME 0424

    (207) 783-1585

    EMAIL: boxoffice@francocenter.org

    ... More
  • Fête Nationale/St. John the Baptist Feast Day Celebration
    Jun 22
    10:30 am - 2:30 pm

    Fête Nationale/St. John the Baptist Feast Day Celebration

    Heritage Hall

    Child as St John - SepiaSt. Jean Baptiste celebration on June 22

    The Fête Nationale and the Feast Day of St. Jean the Baptist, will be celebrated on Friday, June 22 at the Gendron Franco Center, in association with the Québec Delegation to Boston, the Franco-American Collection at USM/LAC,  the Maine Franco-American Genealogical Society.

    “We will once again showcase the past and future contributions of Franco-American and other Francophone cultures in our community,” said Mitch Thomas, executive director at the Gendron Franco Center.

    The event will start with a social hour and cash bar in the Center’s Heritage Hall at 10:30 a.m.  At 11:30 a.m., a Fête Nationale luncheon will be served, followed by a celebration in the magnificent Performance Hall.

    The traditional feast day menu includes Soup Bouillon, Salade de Printemps, Meat Tourtiere, and Cake des Fêtes. Churches from across the Twin cities will ring their own bells at noon to celebrate the feast day. The 12:30 p.m. program will include the musicians, speakers, the Franco-American Veterans Color Guard.

    Reserved meal tickets are $12.  To purchase tickets, visit the Box Office at 46 Cedar Street, Lewiston, go on-line at francocenter.org, or call (207) 783-1585. Box office hours are Monday thru Friday from noon to 4 p.m.  The magnificent Gendron Franco Center is handicap accessible and is located on the corner of Cedar and Oxford Streets in the “Little Canada” section of Lewiston, just across the Lown Peace Bridge from New Auburn.

    The event will start with a social hour and cash bar in the Center’s Heritage Hall at 10:30 a.m.  At 11:30 a.m., a feast day luncheon will be served, followed by a musical celebration of the event in the Performance Hall. Entertainment TBA.

    Ticket: $12

     

     

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  • Summer Shopping and a Show Day Trip
    Aug 10
    8:00 am - 7:00 pm

    Summer Shopping and a Show Day Trip

    You are invited to join friends and family on another very special Day Trip to Southern Maine.

    LET’S GO OUT TO EAT, SEE a SHOW, and DO SOME SUMMER SHOPPING in Southern Maine

    Friday, August 10, 2018

    We depart by bus from the Gendron Franco Center at 8 a.m., with a morning stop at Reny’s for shopping in Downtown Portland, an afternoon visit to Old Orchard Beach, and a trip to Len Libby’s Chocolate and Ice Cream shop in Scarborough, our lunchtime visit to Foster’s Clambake in York Harbor is the center piece of this great summer Franco tour!

    The menu includes: New England Clam Chowder, Freshly-dug Maine Clams, Cultivated Mussels, Succulent Maine Lobster (or chicken), Sweet Corn on the Cob, Roasted Red Potatoes and Onions (all steamed over a roaring wood fire), Blueberry Crumb Cake, Iced Tea, Lemonade, Coffee and Tea, Cash Bar, and Live Entertainment!
    We should be back home by 6:30 p.m.

    Your ticket price includes all of the above, plus all-day parking at the Franco Center.  $72/person
    (Price includes transportation, the meal, entertainment, tax and all-day parking at the Franco Center)

    To reserve and pay for your spot, call or visit the Franco Center – 46 Cedar Street,  Lewiston, ME 0424

    (207) 783-1585

    EMAIL: boxoffice@francocenter.org

    ... More

While the impetus to create the Franco Center as a non-profit entity was the imminent destruction of of the magnificent structure that was known until July 2000 as St. Mary’s Church, the preservation of the building — while being our primary function — is not our sole purpose.

The Dolard & Priscilla Gendron Franco Center also exists to preserve the language, culture, art and cuisine of the French-Canadian immigrants who settled in the Lewiston-Auburn area beginning in the 1860’s. After being discouraged both legally and culturally for over a hundred years, over the past decade or so there’s been something of a resurgence in the pride that Franco descendants of those immigrants feel about their common heritage. To bolster that resurgence, The Franco Center:

• hosts a monthly French-language luncheon known as La Rencontre, with entertainment that is more often than not also in French,
• offers French classes to adults and children alike,
• coordinates after-school French language, culture and art classes known as the Maine French Heritage Language Program in two Auburn elementary schools, where kids in grades K-6 spend four hours per week learning about world Francophone cultures with an emphasis on New England Franco-American traditions,
• produces French language concerts and other events on a regular basis,
• maintains a Franco heritage museum consisting of items and photographs of historic and cultural value, including a permanent exhibit dedicated to the Grey Nuns, also known as the Sisters of Charity, a group of nuns from Québec who worked tirelessly to ease the hardships for newly arriving French-Canadian immigrants is the days before the weaving of the social safety net,
• holds an annual reception to celebrate the latest inductions of Maine members into the Franco-American Hall of Fame, an event that coincides with La Semaine de la Francophonie (Francophone Week) and official recognition by the Maine Legislature of the contributions by Francos to Maine’s historic, economic and cultural life.

French Reacquisition