Winnipeg is a multi-cultural city so it’s no surprise that we host the world’s biggest and longest running multi-cultural festival – Folklorama. In 2010, the International Council of Organizations of Folklore Festivals and Folk Arts made this designation regarding Folklorama, a showcase of different cultures at 43 pavilions across the city.
The festival started as a week-long festival in 1970 as part of the Manitoba Centennial with 21 pavilions. It was planned as a one time event.
Attracting more than 75,000 people in that first year, the organizers decided to do it again the next near. By 1988, it was so popular, the event was increased to two weeks with more pavilions added each year.
Folklorama gives residents and visitors alike, a chance to experience other cultures, as they take in exhibits at various locations sampling ethnic food while sitting back and enjoying traditional song and dance. Some 600,000 meals are served at the festival every year.
What I’ve experienced at Folklorama over the years are many open minded people eager to learn about and experience other peoples customs and ways of life. Folklorama shows the world a Winnipeg where people of all nationalities dance arm in arm in fun and merriment. Last year’s attendance was estimated at over 416,000 visitors.
With careful planning you can see a number of different pavilions. Visiting two or three pavilions a night can easily be done.
In fact, VIP World passes are available where a bus will take groups of world travelers to three pavilions in a night. The VIP pass means one can avoid the lineups and enjoy a meal in the best seat in the house.
Average time to take in each pavilion is about an hour although some of the later pavilions feature late night parties.
Whether you’re watching the lion dance at the Chinese pavilion or a martial arts demonstration at the Korean pavilion or some lively dancing at the Punjab pavilion, there’s something for everyone at Folklorama.
Friendly hosts and tour guides are available to take you through the cultural displays and answer any questions you may have. Each pavilion has two adult ambassadors and two youth ambassadors.
There are over 3,000 performers who take part in more than 1,500 shows over the two weeks.
As with most festivals, Folklorama relies on many volunteers who help out in various capacities over the duration of the festival. Folklorama boasts a network of 20,000 volunteers.
When planning your world tour keep in mind that most of the pavilions are different in week one from week two. Full details at www.folklorama.ca
All photos by Doug Kretchmer
When: Aug. 2- Aug.15, 2015
Where: Various venues around Winnipeg
Cost: $6.00 per pavilion (adult/senior/youth)
• Single admission tickets are available at the entrance of each pavilion
• Children 12 and under are FREE when accompanied by an adult (limit of five per adult)
VICKAR AUTOMOTIVE GROUP FUN PACK: $54.00 for 12 tickets
• 12 tickets for the price of 9
• Transferable tickets are perfect for couples or families visiting several pavilions
• Vickar Automotive Group Fun Packs can be purchased at Vickar Automotive Group dealerships, Cambrian Credit Union branches and the Folklorama office (2nd Floor – 183 Kennedy Street)
MINI FUN PACK: $25.00 for 5 tickets
• Advance ticket savings
• A great way to share tickets with friends & family
• Purchase at Vickar Automotive Group dealerships, Cambrian Credit Union branches and the Folklorama office (2nd Floor – 183 Kennedy Street)
VIP TOURS: $69.95* (3 pavilions) & $54.95* (2 pavilions)
• Bypass line-ups and enjoy VIP seating and a progressive cultural meal
• Air-conditioned transportation to all pavilions
• A wide variety of tour options are available
You can also add a hotel stay at a Canad Inns Destination Centre or Radisson Winnipeg Hotel Downtown when you book your VIP Tour.
Korean pavilion- Week one Aug. 2- Aug.8 @ J. B. Mitchell School
Brazilian pavillion- Week two Aug. 9- Aug. 15 @ Heather Curling Club
Carribean pavillion- Week one Aug. 2- aug. 8 @ Centre cultural franco-manitobain
Originally published in The Uniter