Visitors to the Scottish Pavilion watch Shona McHard of the McHard School of Dance perform during a recent edition of the Lieutenant Governor's Winter Festival. (FILE)
For the first time, the Lieuenant Governor’s Winter Festival will fall on the same weekend as Dakota Nation Winterfest.
But the two events won’t be in competition with one another, according to Brandon Riverbank Development and tourism services manager Lois MacDonald.
WHERE THE PAVILIONS AREThe 11th annual Lieutenant Governor's Winter Festival will be held Jan. 30, 31 and Feb. 1, 2014. The festival will include the following 10 pavilions at these locations:• Brazil -- Ukrainian National Home at 1133 Stickney Ave.• Colombia -- Central United Church at 327 Eighth St.• English -- ANAF Hall at 31 14th St.• Honduras -- Trinity United Church at 1515 Sixth St.• First Nations -- Little Teaching Lodge at 205 College Ave.• German -- Victoria Inn Salon A & B at 3550 Victoria Ave.• Global Village -- St. Matthews Cathedral at 403 13th St.• Irish -- Royal Oak Inn at 3130 Victoria Ave.• Scottish -- Victoria Inn Imperial Ball Room at 3550 Victoria Ave.• Ukrainian -- Ukrainian Reading Hall at 1005 Assiniboine Ave.To volunteer or for more information, visit the Lieutenant Governor's Winter Festival website at brandonwinterfestival.ca.» City of Brandon
"From a venue perspective, not really. Certainly hotel rooms are very, very tight during the First Nations celebrations," MacDonald said.
Past Brandon tourism occupancy surveys show local hotels during the Dakota Nation Winterfest, when combined with regular traveller traffic, are almost at capacity, she said.
"On those weekends there wouldn’t be a lot of availability."
In past years, the Dakota Nation festival was held at the beginning of January, but needed to be pushed back for next year, MacDonald said, adding it’s the first time the events are on the same weekend.
Dakota Nation Winterfest 2014, which will be held Jan. 31-Feb. 2, is the largest aboriginal sport and cultural event of its kind under one roof. Sponsored by Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, the event will take place at the Westman Place at the Keystone Centre.
The event will include powwows, men and women’s volleyball and hockey, moccasin games, a children’s and elder’s lounge, a MuchMusic Video teen dance, bingo, talent show, square dancing and more.
Starting a day earlier, the 11th annual Lieutenant Governor’s Winter Festival, a three day cultural event, will run Jan. 30-Feb. 1. The festival will feature 10 pavilions, many of which are already in full preparation mode.
"It’s no small feat," said festival committee chair Richard Bruce. "Nobody expects the numbers to come out and continue to come out.
"I can remember lining up when it was 40 below and it wasn’t because I was in a line with a couple people waiting to get in. I was in line with a lot of people."
Bruce said he recently found out the festival falls on the same weekend as Dakota Nation’s, but said he isn’t concerned it will affect the turnout. The event usually receives up to 60,000 pavilion visits annually.
"In the grand scheme of things, we’re not in competition with one another, so it would be just another venue where you could experience another culture," he said. "The festival is quite unique in that respect ... you can go to literally 10 different places on the globe and never leave town."
Although 10 pavilions is on the low side, Bruce remembers the first year when there were only seven. In 2011 and 2012, there were 13 pavilions.
"It’s always better for the community if we can have more because they have more exposure to different people and different cultures."
Manfred Wicht, who has helped co-ordinate the German pavilion for almost 10 years, said attracting more young volunteers will be key moving forward.
Wicht wouldn’t say how much longer he plans to stay involved with the festival, but did admit organizers are already struggling with preparations.
"We’ll play it by ear, year after year and see what happens," Wicht said. "This year, we’re struggling with our food preparation. This year, we are struggling with our entertainment because our performers are getting older."
Bruce made a presentation to city council during their meeting Monday. This year’s festival will be sanctioned as a community event so pavilions will be allowed to stay open later as well as serve liquor if they so choose.
How late they stay open will depend on the pavilion, but Bruce predicts the German, Scottish, English and Irish pavilions will be keeping their doors open late.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 21, 2013