Despite a heavy downpour Saturday, Culturama 2002 filled the Memorial Sports Centre with a colourful collection of unique sights, sounds, and tastes.
The annual event was presented by the Rainy Lake Multicultural Association in an effort to raise awareness of the different cultures in the area.
“We do this to promote different ethnic communities,” said Bev Kotnik, the chief organizer. “There is always a lot of neat entertainment and food.”
Kotnik also was overwhelmed by the tremendous turnout. “We figured the attendance would be down with the rain, but we’re pleased,” she remarked.
The event attracted about 500 people, who enjoyed seven different musical and dance acts during the afternoon and evening.
“It’s a great way to remove ignorance and promote understanding,” said emcee Kyle Goomansingh, who is the ambassador general of “Folkorama,” a Winnipeg-based cultural association that helped organize the event here.
To reflect the spirit of Culturama, the third year University of Manitoba student dressed in traditional Indian fashion for the evening.
He, too, was overjoyed by the turnout. “The fact that a small town can have such a big turnout is just great,” he enthused.
For Goomansingh, the purpose of Culturama is simple. “It tells the people that there are many different communities out there, and that we can all get together and have fun,” he explained
The Fubuki Daiko (Blizzard Drums) Japanese Drummers, a Winnipeg-based troupe that has been honing its fluid rhythms for the last seven years, brought their fusion of traditional and new techniques and left the crowd amazed.
So did the Hungarian Kapisztran Folk Ensemble, formed in 1960. They spiced up their traditional folk movements with a teetering bottle dance that was the centrepiece of the performance.
Also performing during the afternoon and evening sets were Licanantay, Winnipeg Steel Orchestra, Ching-Wu Athletic Association, Fort Dance Studio, and the Fort Frances Highlanders.
Beside the musical acts, the event also boasted a variety of ethnic food. Booths around the arena offered Chinese food, Swedish meatballs, perogies, bigos, and much more.
“The food is really good,” said Kirsten Boyer, 14, one of many young people on hand.
“I enjoy the different varieties from all the different cultures,” she said between bites of a cabbage roll.