Tag Archives: Folklorama

Welcoming the World: Folklorama

As you may be able to tell, summer is festival time here in Winnipeg.   Hardly a week goes by without one festival ending and another one beginning.  With the close of the Winnipeg Fringe Festival and August on the horizon it’s time for Winnipeg to swing its doors wide open and welcome the world.  Literally.

Folklorama 2010

Envisioned by Mayor Steven Juba in 1965, his office laid the groundwork for what was to become the largest and longest running celebration of ethnic and cultural diversity on the planet.   The first official Folklorama festival took place in 1970 and played host to 21 distinct pavilions each one representing a different cultural group that had made it’s home in Manitoba.

40 years later and the celebration is still going strong, from an estimated attendance of 75,000 people in 1970 to 442,000 patrons in 2009 the event shows no sign of slowing down.

As a newcomer to the event you may ask Bob, what can I expect if I visit Folklorama this year?   Why should I visit, Winnipeg for this event?   The simple answer to those questions would be to let your hair down and have a good time.  For example you could take in the German Pavilion enjoying a good beer with a couple of hundred new friends swaying back and forth to a big brass band in the beer garden.  If beer is not your thing, perhaps you would like to take in a Ken-do exhibition at the Japanese pavilion while noshing on some freshly rolled sushi.

Folklorama Llama visits the Paraguay Pavilion in 2008

The point of the exercise is to open your mind and explore cultures that may be foreign to you all without leaving North America.  Where else could you take in a Paraguayan Gaucho doing rope tricks and the next hour be transported to the Greek Isles downing shots of Ouzo?

The numbers speak for themselves, people travel the world coming to Winnipeg to give of themselves and of their culture.  No expense is spared by the host families to give the entertainers they import from their homelands a good Canadian welcome.  Likewise tour buses line the pavilion areas around town disgorging eager tour groups ready to embrace what we Winnipeggers almost take for granted.

Our city is a cultural mosaic, we embrace and encourage newcomers from foreign lands to keep what is special from the lands they once called home.  We do not as a rule impose a melting pot ideology, instead we welcome them to add to the growing tapestry that is our city.

We welcome everyone  immigrant, resident or traveller alike.
Come to Winnipeg, stay a while and enjoy our hospitality.

The 1000th Hit Super Happy Funtime Spectacular!

Wow 1000 hits!!!!

I know it doesn’t seem like many but to me it screams success.  I can remember just a few scant months ago I sat down not knowing a thing about blogging or even if I could attract an audience at all.  I thought to myself am I taking on more than I could chew by starting this.  Would I be able to sustain my goal of posting at least 2-3 times a week??

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MY Winnipeg

Before I get started just one quick thing… HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM, nice to be 29 again eh!!!!!!  Love You

A lot has been made about Winnipeg in the pages of Catsworking these last few months. It has become a bit of a lightning rod of sorts, good in the fact that its giving my hometown a bit of press.

Well from a completely historical and geographical perspective Winnipeg has always been at the crossroads of North America. Go ahead look at a map, I have time……

Ahh, there you are… So I was saying Winnipeg was once the Chicago of the North. The railway hub of a West that never came to pass. Our turn of the century architecture has that “Chicago Style” and has been used as a cost friendly alternative to actually filming in Chicago proper.

Before that, even before the American West was won, French and English influences were being laid… Literally.  In the 1700’s Mid Western Canada was the hub of the fur trade with Europe.  Small bands of Voyageurs (trappers and adventurers) explored this part of the country often “Marrying” the local women and Starting a new people… The Metis.

One can not visit Winnipeg today and not feel those early influences, a city born on the border of the Great Plains to the West  and the Massive forests to the  East.  A city steeped in French and English culture with a handful of Native First Nations influence thrown in for good measure.

Winnipeg has always been a gathering place, not a Melting Pot, but rather a Mosaic where people are encouraged to keep and celebrate their heritage. It is home to the largest multicultural festival in North America, Folklorama.

Winnipeg to me though is home, a city big enough and cultured enough to keep a small town boy happy while giving him the ability to get lost in a crowd if need be. I am happy to say we have a thriving dining scene here, and the changing seasons are as varied as its people.

Winnipeg gets a bad wrap as far as I am concerned with being a desolate windswept snow-covered wasteland. This is simply not true.  Grand Beach,
just an hours drive of Winnipeg was once rated by Playboy to be one of the best beaches in the world.

The winters although harsh for the uninitiated, are crisp and clean. It is said that the Canadian sense of humor comes from our coming to grips with the stark beauty and savage reality of the land and the climate.

Wow.. So that’s my home in a nutshell, the squirrels in my brain are getting hungry.

Just one more thing I would like to thank my good friend Snoopy. She gave me the tag-line ” Welcome to the Darkside… We have Cookies” .

On that note I had a request for a picture from Karen…..

Me relaxing at Keycon25.  Letting my inner Godzilla out