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A valued tradition

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April is the cruelest month, it’s said, and you certainly don’t have to tell that to organizers of the annual District Festival for the Performing Arts.

The sudden blizzard Easter Sunday forced them to postpone the start of the festival Monday morning because one of the adjudicators could not make it into town. But they just laughed about the whole thing (which was better than crying, as festival association president John Jankiewicz put it), juggled a few things around, and persevered.

And barring any other surprises Mother Nature may have up her sleeve, the rest of the program this week and next hopefully will run without a hitch.

Festival is as much an integral part of Rainy River District as the Emo fall fair, offering youngsters a chance to showcase their musical or dramatic talents (and now dance)—and perhaps spur some to pursue a career in the arts after high school.

At the very least, it provides wonderful memories for the participants to last a lifetime, whether or not they’re Rose Bowl winners, or take home some other award/scholarship. A legacy often passed down to their children and grandchildren.

What many people may not realize, or appreciate, is the hard work and long hours organizers—spearheaded by Mr. Jankiewicz for the past several years—must put in to stage the festival each spring.

Just how important are they? Eight years ago, festival was cancelled because no one was willing to take over from long-time organizer Joan Miller. Fortunately, others have since stepped forward to ensure our children have this wonderful opportunity to perform in the spotlight.

Kudos to the organizers on a job which may go unthanked far too often. Your dedication keeps festival alive—and with it a valuable and much-needed appreciation for the arts among us all.

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