ST-ALBERT — Covid kiboshed this year’s Curd Festival but it can’t curtail these colourful cows.
With their regular summer event cancelled because of the pandemic, Festival organizers are instead adding a dash of colour to their village and the surrounding area with a new project.
“Hey Cow, I see you now!” features statues of cows painted by local artists, nearly half of them from the Prescott and Russell area.
Nineteen of the bovine statues have been set up in front of businesses, farms and residences between Embrun and Casselman — but mostly in and around St-Albert— on a 30 km circuit that will remain in place through the winter of 2021. A 20th cow is also planned, to be installed in a few weeks’ time.
As examples recently began popping up around the area, the herd has “generated tremendous curiosity and enthusiasm throughout the community,” organizers say.
“As soon as we started installing the cows two weeks ago, we began receiving e-mails from the villagers asking if they could have one on their properties,” said Curd Festival Executive Director Michel-Olivier Matte. “We also received a lot of phone calls from people thanking us for adding some colour to the landscape,” he added.
Along with an interactive maps of the route, the festivaldelacurd.ca site features a photo gallery of the cows and the list of artists contributing to the project.
Organizers look forward to audience feedback on social media through the #HeyCowISeeYouNow hashtag — on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter posts.
Those behind “Hey Cow, I see you now!” invite the public to follow the route while adhering to COVID-19 measures, including those for inter-regional travel. However, they point out that families can easily set out on their adventure with a drive through the region’s beautiful landscapes, to discover the region’s farms and businesses. The St-Albert Cheese boutique remains open and welcomes customers to its restaurant for take-out meals exclusively.
“That will obviously depend on how the pandemic evolves. Of course, given the enthusiasm for the project shown by the Prescott & Russell community, the organizers are thinking about adding more cows throughout the territory next spring,” Matte explains. “Like many other cultural organizations, we are monitoring the situation very closely as 2021 approaches.
“One thing is for sure, and that’s that the outpouring of love and positive energy for the cows has encouraged us to keep working on projects that cheer up the community, and that will remain our goal over the coming year,” he concludes.