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Winter Festival preparations underway

Dancers from the El Salvador pavilion perform at the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Lieutenant Governor’s Winter Festival. This year’s festival runs Jan. 31 to Feb. 2.

COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN Enlarge Image

Dancers from the El Salvador pavilion perform at the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Lieutenant Governor’s Winter Festival. This year’s festival runs Jan. 31 to Feb. 2.

Ethiopia and the Global Village are in, while the French Canadian and U.S.A. are out.

The official pavilion lineup is set for Brandon’s 10th annual Lieutenant Governor’s Winter Festival, which runs Jan. 31 to Feb. 2.

The festival will feature a total of 13 pavilions, including Brazilian, Colombian, Salvadoran, English, First Nations, German, Irish, Mauritius, Métis, Scottish and Ukrainian.

Organizers are in full swing, as the festival is less than a month away.

"It is completely volunteer organized and driven, so there needs to be a lot of work behind-the-scenes that gets done," said Esther Bryan, past chair of the winter festival.

Typically there are roughly 1,000 volunteers involved to help make the event a success.

The Global Village will be a collective effort from the Egyptian, Kenyan, Icelandic and Latin cultures.

French Canadian and U.S.A. were involved in the 2012 festival but will not be included this year.

"Sometimes it’s a whole slew of reasons behind it," Bryan said.

The French Canadian pavilion’s chairperson stepped down and no one stepped up to take on that role this year.

The U.S.A. pavilion, which was organized by the Brandon Folk, Music and Art Society, applied to be included in this year’s festival, however they weren’t granted a spot. City representatives could not be reached yesterday to provide the details of why their application was denied.

The U.S.A. pavilion was a popular venue, bringing out 5,000 visitors last year for their first festival. However, there were some concerns raised last year regarding where the funds were going.

"The money that they raised went to help offset their summer folk festival," Bryan said. "Traditionally, that’s not how it’s done."

The way the festival is set up is that every group has its own independent pavilion, Bryan said.

"As an independent pavilion, you are afforded … the opportunity to give to whoever you want to give to, we don’t dictate that at all," she said. "I think where some of the conflict concern came up … was they were self-perpetuating their own, so that if they had set it up as an independent, they could’ve in essence given back to (Brandon Folk, Music and Art Society)."

The U.S.A. pavilion was created as a way to celebrate folk music which has its roots in the U.S. The committee selected the Mississippi River region, where Appalachian styles of bluegrass music, barbecue and gumbo play a central role.

Bryan said pavilions will sometimes take a year or two off to build up their capacity.

"Some of them come and go," she said. "We often use the German one as a prime example. When they started, they started in a nice little venue, really small … They just kept growing and building on their successes, into the pavilion that they are today. They took a couple years off as well in order to build their own capacity back up, to build their volunteer capacity back up."

There are several plans in the works to mark the Winter Festival’s 10-year milestone.

"We’re doing a 10th anniversary look-back," Bryan said. "Some of the things that we’re doing in our opening ceremonies will be some of that look-back over the 10 years."

The festival guide will also include some history of the festival, as well as features on those people who have played a role in the event over the years.

Opening ceremonies will take place at city hall at 6 p.m. on Jan. 31.

Bryan has been involved with the festival over the past five years and says the event is positive "on so many levels."

"It’s great because it gives someone something to do on a cold winter Manitoba (night) but it’s also so good in that there’s such a pride in each pavilion," she said. "They’re so pleased to be able to present to the masses their heritage, their music … their food and their sounds, and for me to look at that I think, ‘This is just such solid community building.’"

» jaustin@brandonsun.com

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 3, 2013

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Ethiopia and the Global Village are in, while the French Canadian and U.S.A. are out.

The official pavilion lineup is set for Brandon’s 10th annual Lieutenant Governor’s Winter Festival, which runs Jan. 31 to Feb. 2.

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Ethiopia and the Global Village are in, while the French Canadian and U.S.A. are out.

The official pavilion lineup is set for Brandon’s 10th annual Lieutenant Governor’s Winter Festival, which runs Jan. 31 to Feb. 2.

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