I visited the India and First Nations Pavilions, both held at the RBC Convention Centre, as well as the Korean Pavilion at the Masonic Temple, during the second week of Folklorama. Both of these great community buildings, one downtown and one at confusion corner, are inside the ward of Fort Rouge – East Fort Garry. I was delighted to see the number of youth present at all three pavilions.
At each and every Folklorama pavilion I attended, I must say that the energy from the performers, audience and volunteers was simply inspiring. It was interesting to see the ways that different cultures live, express themselves, and adapt to the changes in their communities and countries. I was extremely impressed with all of the shows. You could see the enthusiasm and pride in all of the performers’ eyes. Folklorama, with its many tireless volunteers, organizers and performers, is one of the great festivals that makes me proud to call Winnipeg home. To everyone involved with the pavilions, as they say in Korea, Gamsahamnida (Thank you).
Folklorama is a spirited celebration of communities sharing their unique cultures. The festival is a wonderful asset to our city. I was fortunate to take part in the Brazilian, Mexican, Italian, and First Nations pavilions.
Michael Thompson, First Nation adult ambassador, Cindy Lamoureux MLA and elder Winston Wuttunee
At the pavilion I had the honour of meeting the Shawnee Handel adult ambassador for the First Nations Pavilion, as well as elder Winston Wuttunee. Winston shared his experiences at Pembina Trails school, as an official Elder in Residence; he is making a positive difference in the lives of aboriginal youth throughout the area.
The RBC Convention Centre, home to three pavilions, has become an impressive asset to our downtown. The central location is convenient as it allows for the use of green transportation such as walking or biking, as well as relatively easy public commuting options.
Folklorama, as well as the many individual festivals Winnipeg, help tourism not only within the city, but by extension, throughout Manitoba as well. All of the shows that I attended started with a warm welcome to the guests attending from outside of Winnipeg. It was great to see people coming together and making the trip to Winnipeg to enjoy a pavilion or two.
Overall, each of the pavilion’s shows, food and cultural displays were amazing. The festival is an accessible and affordable way for the family to learn about culture and it provides an opportunity for positive conversation. We should be proud of the cultural appreciation and community spirit that we foster here in the city. I encourage everyone not only to take part in the Folklorama celebration, but to remember that it represents respect and acceptance of different cultures. To quote a particularly memorable speaker at the Italian pavilion, “We are all family”.