Folklorama is just around the corner, and to get the community excited for the only multi-cultural festival of its kind everyone is invited to join in on the kick-off event happing on Saturday.
"It's really a good opportunity for people to come and have a little taste of the festival, a little preview," says Teresa Cotroneo, executive director of Folklorama. "We've got different performers from pavilions that are participating, which is always really cool."
Happening in Assiniboine Park at the Lyric Theatre from 4-8 p.m. on July 29, the community can partake in performances, vendors, children's activities and concession stands. People can also get to know the different pavilions with the ambassadors from each culture performing. This will also be the only time they are all together in one place throughout the festival.
This year there are 40 pavilions the public can partake in.
"Last year was our first year back after the pandemic and we were at 24 and still not sure what was going to happen last year, but everything went fantastic. So, we are very proud that we've got right back up to our numbers."
Cotroneo says in an average year they have 40-45 pavilions with different cultural groups returning annually, while others return after a year or two.
One pavilion that Folklorama participants will be excited about is the Cuban Pavilion, which hasn't been in Winnipeg since 2017.
Folklorama runs from August 6-19. Despite the gap between the kick-off event and the actual festival, Cotroneo says there is still something eager participants can do, and that is to purchase tickets online and plan their pavilion hopping in advance.
"The fact that tickets are available online and in advance means that you know you're going to get into a pavilion, which has always been one of those things people kind of hummed and hawed about, 'If I show up will I get in?' Well, now you can, so that's awesome."
Cotroneo also suggests people participate in their VIP tours where people can hop on a tour bus, join a walking or cycling group and get no-wait access to their selected tour. However, tours are selling out fast, so book yours now!
Folklorama is celebrating its 52nd year and Cotroneo says it's a testament to the people who participate.
"The organization itself is actually older than that. They started way before the first festival and did different things prior to having the first event in 1970. I think it's really a testament to the people of Manitoba, you know, we are nothing if not for our volunteers and the ethnocultural communities that continue to dedicate a tremendous amount of time and energy into coming together every year to share their culture and traditions with us. People can actually immerse themselves in that culture by attending a pavilion and being surrounded by the food and the arts and everything else that goes along with it. So, it's a testament to the people."
Cotroneo highly recommends people who plan on attending Folklorama purchase their tickets online to guarantee they are able to enter the pavilion of their choosing. She also reminds people that the revenue that's generated in each pavilion stays in that community.