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Free multicultural summer festival returns next week

Two days of fun-filled, free family entertainment are coming next week for the fourth annual edition of Brandon’s Multicultural Summer Festival.

The two-day festival, scheduled this year for July 5–6, is held annually in downtown Princess Park. While it is often considered to be a summer twin to the Lt-Gov’s Winter Festival, this distinct event is actually inspired by Multiculturalism Day, with a goal of celebrating cultural diversity, both locally and globally.

Shanti Subedar says that with Multicultural Day being celebrated across Canada on June 27, next week’s festival is a fun, free follow-up.

"The Multicultural Summer festival provides an opportunity for community members to come together in our downtown to eat, dance, listen to music and learn a bit about our ever-changing and diversifying community, all while getting to know their neighbours," said Subedar, the city's Community Development Programmer. "The festival will have a remarkable array of cultural food, craft vendors and community displays, mixed in with children-friendly activities and dynamic artistic and musical performances."

This year’s opening evening will feature a Latin theme. Musical performances run from 6–9 p.m., featuring Marco Castillo, Sensación Internacional and Combo Latino.

The Saturday program kicks off at 1 p.m. with the Sweet Medicine Singers and the Aboriginal School of Dance. A number of community dance groups are also on tap, including the colourful Chinese Lion Dance Group. The day’s offerings feature a variety of interactive workshops focused on the art of juggling, hand-drumming and capoeira as well.

Musical performances will be featured from 5:30 p.m. onward, including performances from Secret Handshake Trio, Chez Willi, Aboriginal School of Dance, Island Vibe Band and Son Latino Band.

"This year, we are particularly excited that the event will bring together members of Brandon’s creative community with Winnipeg-based cultural acts," said Ryan Graves, with the festival’s planning committee. "This kind of collaboration between cities and surrounding areas is a natural and vital way that we can support our local artists and showcase the musical and artistic talent in Manitoba."

The Brandon Multicultural Summer Festival page on Facebook features a complete list of performers and workshops.

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