August 17, 2017 5:00PM Festival
Folkfest 2017 - Celebrating Canada 150
Prairieland Park, 503 Ruth Street West
This year, we are working hard to share a history of culture here in Canada as part of the Canada 150 celebrations. For the first time, we will be having 18 cultural groups at one major location at Prarieland Park. We will be using the 5 Halls for Caribbean, Greek, Philippines, Scottish and Ukrainian, the Global Village concept for our newest members who are looking for support both financially and in capacity building. This year we are working with Sudan, Vietnam, Peru, Nepal and Ghana. Together, they will work alongside each other with a supervisor to showcase their culture through vibrant displays and demonstrations, entertainment and of course, food. They will be a smaller version of the larger cultural groups until they have gained the confidence and experience of sharing their customs and traditions with the public. Their members and others will be encouraged to volunteer, talk with the public and learn how to showcase their culture in the best light. Eventually, it is our goal to have them go on their own after a maximum of three years in this smaller and shared format. The remaining 8 cultural pavilions will be situated throughout the midway area in large tents and finding ways to share resources with other in terms of seating areas, and sharing stages. They will all have large display areas where they will educate the public through presentations, demonstrations, artifacts, photos, dialogue, etc more about their countries of origin, sharing information about their culture while also showing their contributions to Canada through their communities, their connections and their pride. We are adding a Maple Leaf Village which is primarily for children ages 12 and under where they can share why they are proud to be Canadian through coloring, writing their thoughts on cut out maple leafs that will be provided for thousands of children. We will be having them hang from a large tree with many branches and a Wall of Pride for them to put their maple leaf as well. The Maple Leaf Village will have all kinds of authentically Canadian activities available for children, and ways for them to be able to interact and share with one another. We are very excited about putting this area together. We want all the kids attending the festival to walk away with a specific and unique cultural experience with the hope they will continue to stay connected with their own cultural community as well as eager to learn about others. The Youth Ambassador Program is for youth ages 15 - 21 who attend a summer program in order to learn more about one another and find one or more major projects to work on in order to showcase at the Gala event which kicks off the festivities a month before the festival as well as serving as the hosts of their pavilion for the public, special guests, dignitaries and especially to engage with other youth who visit their pavilions. This program is critical for the future of the cultural festival as they are the future leaders and to watch their friendships flourish and grow over the summer is absolutely amazing to witness. The Senior Ambassadors are usually 2 people for each cultural group who have been long-standing members who have a vast amount of knowledge about their culture as well as the festivities and activities taking place in their pavilions in order to share this information with the public who have many, many questions about the displays and other activities going on. The Senior Ambassadors also serve as mentors to the youth ambassadors who will educate them as to how to address special guests, what type of information is important to share with the public and how to conduct themselves in public as well. We are proud of more than 5000 volunteers who help to make this festival a success. Many of them serve as a source of information when demonstrating how to make lefse, or how to play and use the Chinese "yo-yo", encouraging visitors to try grape-stomping at the Greek pavilion, or try your hand at at the game of at the Pakistan pavilion, understanding why certain cultural attire is worn and to have a Sari wrapped around them at the India pavilion, the Irish are very proud of their displays featuring the Titanic and the Norwegian have a lot of fun with trolls for the kids, and having your picture taken with a live Mermaid at the Caribbean pavilion, and seeing all the amazing islands on the Caribbean map, and discovering there are more than 7,000 islands in the Philippines. Cultural skills and knowledge are share in a myriad of ways through people of all ages at Folkfest. From the wee ones to the Elders at the Indian & Metis pavilion, gathering around buffalo wrapped bales of hay to hear stories, the experiences and opportunities for learning are endless and we are very proud of the time that goes into ensuring there is so much to learn about when you visit Folkfest.