It has often been termed the two weeks when Winnipeg hosts the world.
Folklorama, which runs from August 3 to 16 this year, features 43 pavilions that celebrate the ethno-cultural diversity that exists in Manitoba. The annual festival, which is in its 45th year, is noted as the largest and longest-running multicultural festival of its kind in the world.
“The International Council of Organizations of Folklore and Folk Arts gave Folklorama this special designation in 2010 and we are so proud to be the premiere multicultural festival — not just in Canada — but around the world,” said Folklorama board president Amelia Sheocharan.
“It’s an honour we are proud to uphold through our mission of celebrating diversity and promoting cultural understanding,” she added.
This year, Folklorama is encouraging festival-goers to consider, “How will you Folklorama?”
“Folklorama is a Winnipeg tradition,” said executive director Debra Zoerb. “And everyone has their own unique way of enjoying their Folklorama experience.”
Week 1 of Folklorama, from August 3 to 9, features 19 pavilions that range alphabetically from the Africa/Caribbean Pavillion at Grant Park School to the Warsaw-Poland Pavilion at Glenwood Community Centre.
Week 2, from 10 to 16, features the remaining pavilions that range alphabetically from the African Pavilion at Holy Cross Gym to the United Kingdom Pavilion at the Punjab Cultural Centre.
Two new groups this year are the Andean Pavilion and the United Kingdom Pavilion, both in Week 2.
Returning after an absence are the Chinese Pavilion in Week 1 and the Argentina “Tango” Pavilion in Week 2.
The pavilions are clustered together in such a way that it is possible to visit at least three each evening.
A complete list of the 43 pavilions and their venues is available at www.folklorama.ca, which is a new website specifically developed this year for the annual festival. Folklorama can also be followed on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at #Folklorama45.
“The new website will be particularly helpful for those wanting to plan their Folklorama experience, whether they are at home, or on-the-go,” said Zoerb.
“Our website is fully responsive — meaning that you can learn more about Folklorama on your desktop computer, tablet or smart phone,” she added.
The website contains photos, festival information, a pavilion search function, plus other information on year-round programs. The three year-round programs are referred to as Folklorama Talent, Teachings and Travel.
Children 12 and under are admitted free to the venues, while a single admission is $6 at pavilion doors.
An affordable option is the Vickar Automotive Group Fun Pack of 12 tickets for $54, as well as the Folklorama Mini Fun Park of five tickets for $25.
There are also a variety of VIP tour options, including late night tours, party tours, cycle tours, accessibility tours and, new this year, walking tours. GST is included in the price of all admission tickets.
Tickets can be booked on-line at the Folklorama website or by calling 204-982-6222 or 1-800-665-0234.
Each year, over 20,000 volunteers come together to celebrate and showcase their cultures, spending countless hours to ensure their pavilions are true representations of their culture.
At the pavilions there are special attractions, such as singing, dancing and food particular to each ethno-cultural heritage.
Each pavilion has standard show times at 6:45, 8:15 and 9:45 p.m. Some pavilions do offer additional shows.
During the first Folklorama in 1970 to celebrate Manitoba’s centennial, there were 21 pavilions open over just a one-week period in what was to be a one-time event. But the decision was reached to continue the festival as an annual event due to its popularity. That popularity increased to the point that is was expanded to a two-week-long festival in 1988, with half the pavilions running during the first week and the other half running during the second week.
In the first year of Folklorama, the pavilions had 75,000 visits, while it is expected that this year’s 43 pavilions will attract at least 400,000 visits.
Bus tours arrive at Folklorama venues bringing visitors from across Canada and the United States. Visitors have also come from as far away as Japan, Iceland and Paraguay in the past.