A town with one of the largest populations of Icelanders in the world is sharing its culture virtually this summer.
Gimli's annual Icelandic Festival of Manitoba regularly sees tens of thousands of people participate in person during its festivities.
"The whole idea of being together with your family, celebrating your roots, celebrating your heritage is a really nice feeling," Jenna Baholij, President and Marketing Chair of Icelandic Festival of Manitobal says.
The Icelandic Festival of Manitoba celebrates the town's heritage and deep-rooted customs. In 1875, Icelanders were given land in the area of Gimli to set up a community. Since then, Gimli has grown to have the largest population of Icelanders outside of Iceland.
"If you go to Gimli, you will see parts of Icelandic culture in everyday life."
Established in 1890, the Icelandic Festival of Manitoba has been celebrating the Icelandic culture annually. This year is the first time it has ever occurred only online.
"Icelandic culture is very big on the written word and the written traditional formal proceedings in some ways, so I am sure that they ever pictured that this would be going virtual."
Boholij says residents still follow many of the traditions that were brought from Iceland, including closing shops to enjoy a coffee break with friends.
The festival's decision to go virtual instead of cancel has been welcomed by the community.
Now that the festival's activities are online, Boholij says people across the globe can learn about their culture, and those who have family in Iceland can share their Manitoban traditions.
"That sense of community, and family and friend, that is really what it is all about for a lot of people on the long weekend."
While this year's organizers do not know how many people will participate virtually this weekend, they are already seeing international success with their running event.
"It is a really strong community. I think a lot of people typically run it in person."
Participants in New Zealand, England, and all across Canada have been joining in and submitting their scores.
Starting tomorrow, the festival will begin its yard display contest, welcoming participants to decorate their lawns instead of the usual parade floats.
Other activities, such as sandcastle building are also still occurring, but at a distance.
Baholij adds that those wanting to participate this long weekend are welcome to follow along on social media.