Thirteen pavilions are preparing for the 10th annual Lieutenant Governor’s Winter Festival, a three-day cultural festival that kicks off Thursday.
Set this year for Jan. 31 – Feb. 2, the free, family-friendly event features cultural pavilions at community venues across the city.
This year, the cultures of Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, England, Ethiopia, First Nations, Germany, Ireland, Mauritius, Metis, Scotland and Ukraine. In the Global Village pavilion, cultures from Iceland, Latin American countries, Egypt and Kenya will also be represented.
Several pavilions are in different locations. Last year's popular American pavilion was denied a pavilion place this year after a controversial vote by the organizing committee.
"The Lieutenant Governor’s Winter Festival is a wonderful way for people to get to know their neighbours and to appreciate the multi-cultural diversity of the community has been built here in the southwestern part of Manitoba," said the Philip Lee, Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba. "I look forward to celebrating with the community when I visit several of the pavilions again this year".
As in previous years, a special Winter Festival supplement has been printed by the Brandon Sun, and will be distributed in Thursday's Community News Edition. A PDF version will also be available online.
This year, for the 10th year, a glossy print, fully-bound special guidebook has also been produced by the Festival’s executive committee and will be sold for a dollar. The guidebook will include a history of the festival as well as full profiles of each of this year’s participating pavilions. Photos from previous festivals will also be featured.
"The commemorative guidebook is one we hope people will make use of as they visit pavilions this year, but also hold on to as a keepsake for years to come," says Esther Bryan, community development manager and past festival chair.
"All of the pertinent information about this year’s pavilions is in the book, but there are also plenty of extras, like the complete listing of pavilions through the years, a picture gallery from previous festivals, a fun ‘Did You Know?’ fact page, as well as a copy of our popular festival quiz, which people can fill out as they visit each pavilion. So, we hope there will be something for everyone to enjoy," she said.
City of Brandon Environmental Initiatives co-ordinator Tom Keep chaired the festival from its beginning in 2004 until 2009. He recalls the festival’s inaugural year as an event that was created to "celebrate the winter season, instead of hunkering down and surviving it."
"We featured seven pavilions in the festival’s first year, which saw over 9,000 pavilion visits, and we felt that was a huge success," Keep said. "Now, the annual festival typically has more than a dozen pavilions and commands upwards of 60,000 pavilion visits annually. I am immensely proud to have been part of the festival’s formative years and know it has forever changed the way we celebrate Brandon’s cultural diversity."
"The success of the festival falls directly on the input of the many volunteers who put their time and expertise into celebrating their ethnic backgrounds," Keep added. "Without the volunteers, the festival would not be able to operate as it does. It is only through this continuing commitment from the volunteers that the intent and spirit of the festival has been maintained over these 10 years."
The commemorative guidebook is available for advance purchase this week at numerous festival sponsor locations, including:
- Brandon City Hall Treasury Department– 410 9th Street;
- Riverbank Discovery Centre, 545 Conservation Drive;
- Brandon Community Sportsplex – 30 Knowlton Drive;
- City of Brandon Community Services Complex – 2020 McGregor Avenue;
- Transit Information Centre - 8th Street & Rosser Avenue;
- 880 CKLQ/Star 94.7 FM – 624 14th Street East;
- Mum's Restaurant (Wheat City Golf Course location) – 3500 McDonald Avenue;
- Manitoba Public Insurance – 731 1st Street;
- Hurl's - 1608 Princess Avenue;
- Forbidden Flavours – 1060 18th Street;
- Sobey's – 1645-18th Street and 3409 Victoria Avenue
Based on availability, the books will also be available for purchase at pavilions during the festival. The Winter Festival kicks off with official opening ceremonies on Thursday, Jan. 31, at 6 p.m. in the Main Foyer at Brandon City Hall.