“Awesome!” was how one tweet on Twitter described last year’s Folklorama.
“This was the first year that I have been and I can honestly say that I had no idea how fabulous it is,” continued the tweet. “Folklorama is definitely an annual event for my family now.”
With 400,000 pavilion visitors last year, it’s obvious that the annual celebration of Manitoba’s cultural diversity was an overwhelming success for those who attended the 43 pavilions over the course of two weeks.
This year, three new pavilions have been added, bringing the total to 46, and it’s expected that attendance will again hit the 400,000 visitor level during its two-week run from August 4 to 17.
“Folklorama is a Winnipeg tradition,” said Debra Zoerb, the executive director of Folklorama. “And because of that, we have kept our admission prices affordable. Children 12 and under are free, and a single admission is only $6 at the pavilion door.”
Another option is the Vickar Automotive Group Fun Pack, which offers 12 tickets for the price of nine.
Folklorama, which is referred to as “the largest and longest-running multicultural event of its kind in the world by the International Council of Organizations of Folklore Festivals and Folk Art,” was founded in 1970 as a one off event to celebrate Manitoba’s centennial.
That year, the Folklorama festival featured 21 pavilions and was spread over a single week.
Folklorama proved to be so successful that the decisions was quickly reached to make it an annual event, “celebrating diversity and promoting cultural understanding.”
The annually growing attendance also made it inevitable that the festival was expanded from one week to two weeks. The present format of Folklorama features half the pavilions participating in the first week and the other half participating in the second week of festivities.
“Our pavilions offer flavourful ethnic cuisine, exotic beverages and unique cultural traditions and history,” said Dr. Rayleen de Luca, the president of the Folklorama board.
“You will be greeted by friendly ambassadors adorned in traditional cultural attire and have the opportunity to be entertained at nightly shows.”
She added that by visiting as many pavilions as possible, visitors will be left with the impression that they can “go anywhere” in the world.
“For Folklorama fans, it just wouldn’t be summer in Manitoba without visiting this popular festival,” is the message from Manitoba Lieutenant-Governor Philip Lee. “Whether you are returning to a favourite pavilion or discovering something new, Folklorama always provides a memorable, multi-cultural experience.”
Mayor Sam Katz said the success of Folklorama revolves around the hard work of over 20,000 volunteers.
‘It is a strong group of proud Winnipeggers who passionately share their customs, food, music and stories that define our city as a hub of culture and diversity,” added the mayor.
“For the two weeks of the festival,” said de Luca, “our volunteers open their arms to the world and welcome everyone to share in their unique traditions.
“It is the enthusiasm and commitment of these passionate individuals that makes Folklorama such a popular and positive event,” added de Luca.
A feature of this year’s Folklorama is the VIP World Tour ($69.95 per person) that allows night owls to visit the scheduled shows at three pavilions, bypassing line-ups and with reserve seating at the three pavilions. During the first stop, participants are supplied with a domestic alcoholic beverage and a meal, while the next stop features a non-alcoholic beverage and dessert. At the final stop of the tour, participants receive a cultural alcoholic beverage and an appetizer.
Other VIP tours include two pavilion stops for $54.95, a cycling tour of two pavilions for $34.95, and an accessibility tour at two pavilions for $34.95. For the VIP Accessability Tour, wheelchair accessible transportation is provided between the two pavilions.
VIP tours for individuals or groups of up to 15 can be booked by calling 204-982-6222 or toll-free at 1-800-665-0234. On-line reservations can be made at www.folklorama.ca
The Folklorama Travel Guide, which includes locations of pavilions, show times, hours of operations and special services, as well as a fold-out map in the centre of the guide to find your way around Winnipeg to the pavilions, can be downloaded at www.folklorama.ca