Folklorama

Folklorama
Photo: folklorama.ca
Folklorama is an annual two-week multicultural festival held in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. It usually takes place during the first two weeks of August. The festival was created to celebrate the cultural and ethnic heritage of people from dozens of countries who live in Winnipeg.

According to the International Council of Organizations of Folklore Festivals and Folk Arts, Folklorama is the world’s largest and longest-running multicultural festival. It was founded in 1970. Folklorama was originally intended to be a one-time event held to celebrate Manitoba’s centennial. However, the first festival was such a success that it was decided to make it an annual event.

The inaugural Folklorama Festival lasted for a week and presented 21 different cultures. The event adopted its current two-week format in 1988. Each festival features over 40 pavilions that showcase different cultures. Volunteer-run pavilions are located throughout Winnipeg, half operate in the first week and the other half in the second week of the festival. As of 2016, only four of the original pavilions have been open every year. They are German, Greek, Scandinavian, and Ukrainian.

Each pavilion features cultural displays, entertainment such as singing and dancing, and authentic ethnic cuisine. Some pavilions also offer special services and attractions such as alcohol tastings, henna tattoo application, and even late night parties.

Until 1990, each pavilion had a mayor and a queen. The queens participated in the Miss Folklorama pageant that was held at the end of the Folklorama Festival. It was not a traditional beauty pageant but a contest of ethnic presentation and preservation. At the present-day festival, each pavilion has two adult and two youth ambassadors. Neither of the ambassadors must be of a specific gender.

Folklorama features about 3,000 entertainers who perform at more than 1,500 shows and 20,000 volunteers. It draws over 400,000 attendees every year, about 20% of whom come from outside of Winnipeg. The majority of attendees visit more than one pavilion.

Throughout the year, Folklorama is sustained by three business divisions. Foklorama Travel offers travel packages, event and trip planning services, and corporate team bulding activities. Folklorama Talent Agency represents local performers and provides a range of event management and concert production services. Folklorama Teachings offers hands-on learning activities and programs focused on ethno-cultural studies.

Folklorama

Photo: folklorama.ca



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