Weyburn sees Culture Days Success

By: Peter Brass April, 2012

Culture Days is still an opportunity to many communities. Those considering taking the opportunity to organize a Culture Days activity or event may want to check out Weyburn’s example.

Alice Neufeld, the arts and culture director for the City of Weyburn, has had over 20 years of experience organizing activities for her community. She was organizing Culture Days activities before Culture Days became a pan-Canadian movement. Since 2010, Weyburn’s Culture Days popular arts and culture celebration continues to attract new audiences, of all ages, from their community.

“We offer demonstrations for everyone to take part in,” explains Neufeld. “This sparks interest for groups and individuals. And, we do not charge for the initial activity. Our goal is to first educate the public on what it is.” This, she says, helps to capture the interest of people so they are more likely to participate and try something new. Neufeld says booking in advance is key. “You need to make contact with the instructors at least six months in advance if they are from out of town,” she says. “This helps guarantee their services during Culture Days.” This forward thinking not only guarantees the instructor you want during the province-wide celebrations, but organizers can also use the instructor’s name in early promotions of the program.

Next, Neufeld also makes connections with the schools as early as possible. “I want to get the schools involved in Culture Days, so I usually approach them at the end of August, just before school starts,” she explains. As a result, many children are able to participate in the Culture Days activities, including the workshop.

“The times for the activities are also an important consideration,” adds Neufeld. “Last year, the times did not allow for working people to come. This year, we are considering having the workshops in the morning before the main Culture Days event begins. Groups would be setting up while the students are there. If they got a glimpse of what to expect, maybe they would bring their parents back later.”

Hosting a Culture Days activity is a great way to build community pride and make new connections with the public. “Just be sure to let the city or town know about your schedule,” notes Neufeld. “Parking was an issue. But, I contacted the Chief of Police and asked for leniency with parking for exhibitors during set up and take down.”

All of Neufeld’s work has been paying off. As each Culture Days passes, more and more people have participated and already asking about the upcoming year’s celebrations. Neufeld adds, “it’s a lot of work to put on this event, but the end result makes it worthwhile.” Weyburn Culture Days estimates that over 1,000 people attended their event last year.