The United Kingdom pavilion takes you on a tour of Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales for a “gathering of the clans”. The pavilion is located in the Punjab Cultural Centre at 1770 King Edward St.
Beautiful harp music is made and songs sung by internationally acclaimed Welsh recording artist Siân James, joined by Sioned Webb and Arfon Gwilym. If you are a fan of Welsh singing, this group is also playing at at Prairie Theatre Exchange on August 17.
Of course, the dancing was top notch. The McConnell School of Dance are a sponsor of the pavilion. They’ve been training dancers for 68 years and currently have more than 150 students.
Accompanying the Irish dancers are the Barefoot Ceili Band.
On a given night there are around 64 performers and 80 to 90 volunteers. The efforts of all these volunteers is evident in the quality of how well the pavilion is run.
One such volunteer is the very cheery Jocelyn Grant, who is the inventory coordinator. Jocelyn is a retired nurse who spends the better part of her “retired” time making the costumes for the Irish, Welsh and English dancers. To make one Irish costume takes her about one week. What dedication!
Jocelyn was wearing an outfit typical of a “Pearly Queen” – dark clothing adorned with pearl (white) buttons worn for special occasions. For a really interesting read on the history of the “Pearlies” check out this website http://pearlykingsandqueens.com/history/.
The cultural display, a must-see, includes interactive activities for children and adults as well. Try to find the 24 “bad wolves” hidden among the exhibits, or join Mary Poppins for some fun.
The food is what you’d want from a Celtic event – plenty of fish and chips, Guinness Stew, Welsh Pasties, Fadge (potato bread) and sausage rolls to name a few. Delicious pastries were available in the Tea Room served by ladies in period costumes (made by Jocelyn).