For the first time its 18-year history here, the annual ethnic celebration known as “Culturama” has been cancelled—a consequence of depleted volunteer and funding pools, organizers revealed Monday.
“It’s just such an awful lot of work and there’s not enough people to run it. The volunteers are just tired,” Sig Mosley, chairman of the Culturama committee, said Monday.
Culturama also has seen a marked drop in attendance over the past few years and so has been running on borrowed time as far as finances were concerned, added Irene Carroll, president of the Rainy River Multicultural Association.
Carroll said the cost of staging Culturama each year usually ran between $15,000-$20,000, with the entertainment groups being the biggest expense.
“It’s kind of sad to see it go [but] it’s not as viable as it was and all of us who’ve been with it from the beginning are tired,” she said. “And in the last several years, we’ve been running at a fairly big [financial] loss.
“Some of the entertainers are really expensive,” she added. “Even if it only costs $1,000-$1,500 for a group for three days’ performance, if there are several people in the group, you still have accommodation, meal, and travel expenses to consider.”
Treasurer Bev Kotnik noted the decision to cancel Culturama really came after last year’s celebration was over. And she said it wasn’t just the committee volunteers who were tired.
Most of the ethnic groups who look after the food booths have senior members who just aren’t up to the task of a three-day event any more.
“And what people don’t realize is that it’s not just work [during] the event but six months beforehand as well,” Kotnik remarked.
But Kotnik also said that despite Culturama’s absence this year, the committee will continue to raise funds for future years.
“We’re still operational. We don’t have a budget but we’re still running bingos and looking at [the future],” she noted.
“Maybe if Culturama wasn’t there . . . if people didn’t have it to go to, they would get interested in helping,” reasoned Mosley.