Past Event

In French Fiddle Tunes and Tall Tales: The Creole Story of the Illinois Country

A Road Scholar Program by Dennis Stroughmatt

Beginning in 1699 with the building of villages such as Cahokia and Kaskaskia along the Mississippi River, French colonists from western France and Qu├ębec would intermarry with the Native populations of what are now Illinois, Missouri, and Indiana, developing a Creole culture that remains distinct from its cousins in Louisiana and Canada even today. This early Illinois population grew during the 18th century, giving the landscape of the Illinois County a decidedly French character. It would eventually leave its legacy not only in town names and landmarks, but also though songs, language, stories, food, and even the first lieutenant governor of Illinois, Pierre Menard.

By way of 300-hundred-year-old traditions such as the annual &quotLa Guillannee&quot French New Year celebration, this presentation by musician and cultural historian Dennis Stroughmatt will take listeners on a fascinating trip through the Illinois Country. Stroughmatt will highlight the enduring French identity of historic Illinois communities such as Prairie du Rocher and Cahokia through long-told folktales, haunting ballads, and foot-stomping fiddle tunes.

This event is Free and Open to the public.

For more information, please contact Laura Warren,