Quacking it up in Knowlton at the annual Duck Festival
By Nancy Helmuth
Knowlton, one of Québec's most beautiful villages, will present its annual Duck Festiva from September 17 to 25.. Highlights of the festival include culinary demonstrations, where one can sample the world renowned Brome Lake duck, a farmer's market, musicians, artists and artisans, and games for children. It's a perfect excuse for a delicious week-end in Knowlton to enjoy the charm and ambience of this historic village on the shores of Brome Lake.
During four days, around 40 exhibitors reputed for the quality and the authenticity of their products will demonstrate their know-how and will give visitors the unique opportunity to taste their specialities. For this edition, this festival offers a vast selection of activities, captivating workshops, conferences, contests and the possibility to taste regional products, including, of course, duck meat!
The main events will take place at Coldbrook park in Knolwlton but many restaurants have special events planned as well. The Brome Lake Duck Farm is actually one of the largest emploers in the area and is of course the main sponsor of this event. To quote from their website:
The Brome Lake Duck farm is built on
long-standing tradition. Established in 1912
on the western shore of the lake, the farm
is the oldest duck-breeding farm in Canada.
The company’s founder was an American
from New York who chose to breed Peking duck
—a large white duck with a yellow bill and feet,
as well as delicious meat—which had been
imported from China to the United States
Later on, his son and heir carried out the rather
odd yet very ambitious plan of moving the farm
and its buildings to the other side of the lake
during winter. Horses and sleighs were the only
means of transportation at the time. The farm
was set up on a sandy strip of land where
the ducks could swim freely in the summer heat
according to the young owner’s plan.
In 1939, the farm was acquired by a lawyer
and businessman who feared that the farm
would not survive. They wanted to maintain
the rural economy in the area, and employment
levels on the farm with the possibility of
increasing staff in the future. Since then,
the Brome Lake Ducks farm has remained
one of the largest employers in the area.
The annual output of the company has increased
five fold in the past 15 years to meet growing
market demand, rising from 25,000 ducks
at first to more than 2,000,000 in 2010.
Brome Lake ducks are raised under good
conditions and are not force-fed. Their daily menu
consists of a mash of cereals and soya, enriched
with vitamins and minerals. Brome Lake ducks
fatten naturally, which produces a more
flavourful and less fatty meat.
The street festival will see agricultural producers and artisans showing and selling their wares along the sidewalks of Knowlton and Lakeside Roads. The center point of the festival will be Coldbrook Park where visitors can visit the Brome Lake Duck Farm bistro and savour a “hot duck” or brochette, hot off the grill. Hours for the festivities are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.
For the fifth year, well-known artist Marie-Andrée Leblond has designed and painted the poster that will represent the festival. Once again, the painting is wonderfully eye-catching, full of colour and charm.
All the restaurants in the village, as well as those in all of Brome Lake, are participating in the festival by offering new and different ways to use local and regional products while focusing on the duck and the regional wines.
Major sponsors of the festival are the Town of Brome Lake, the Caisse Desjardins of Waterloo, BFL Canada Insurance, McAuslan Brewery, IGA Gazaille and Knowlton Packaging Inc.
For complete event information go to: