History of Pea Soup Days

Pea Soup Festival celebrates French-Canadian heritage

Pea Soup, a staple food for those who settled in the area.

This year’s Pea Soup Days festival (June 8th-11th) is going to be better and bigger than ever, thanks to the Somerset Chamber of Commerce partnering with the Somerset Lions Club and Somerset Fire/Rescue Department.  Pea Soup Days celebrates Somerset’s French-Canadian heritage. According to Somerset resident Jeanne Germain, pea soup was a staple food for the French-Canadians who settled in the area.  “The reason for this was that the ingredients were so simple and they were also easily transported/stored,” Germain said. “Smoked ham, dried peas and potatoes were all that was needed and they all last a long time.”  “La soupe au pois” (pea soup in French) will be made by area Boy Scouts this year.

Somerset has been celebrating its heritage with Pea Soup Days since the 1940s or ’50s.  Pea Soup Days’ main attractions include a 5K race, softball tournament, golf tournament, parade, craft fair, food concessions and carnival. Other highlights will be Friday night fireworks and live bands in Village Park on Friday and Saturday nights. For the fourth year in a row Soap Box Derby Races will be held on Frances St Saturday evening.  For the fifth year now, revelers can look forward to a medallion hunt and River Race. Clues for the hunt will be published on peasoupdays.com, Facebook and Twitter starting in May and each Wednesday at 9 a.m. until Pea Soup Days. People searching will also need to purchase a Pea Soup Days button for $2, which also enters you for a chance to win $100 both Friday and Saturday night after the band’s first set is complete. Contestants must be present to win.

The River Race on Sunday, June 11, will begin at the River’s Edge and end at Village Park. Participants must provide their own kayaks, canoes and lifejackets. More information can be found on the Somerset Public Library website.