5 reasons to see Folklorama this year (and every year)

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Summer in Manitoba will not be complete without a visit to Folklorama. Among the many summer festivals in the province, Folklorama is one of the most popular because of its multi-cultural flavour and wide variety of entertainment. Aside from the performances and displays, many enjoy the atmosphere of respect, appreciation for diversity, and the celebration of Manitoba’s multiculturalism. It is the only festival where you can experience as many global cultures as you can handle in one visit.

What is Folklorama?

It is a two-week festival held in August featuring multicultural presentations, authentic ethnic food, cultural demonstrations and other activities. It showcases more than 40 volunteer-run pavilions each year, each one presenting a unique culture. The pavilions are located in various venues throughout Winnipeg – usually in school auditoriums, arenas or cultural centres. These venues tend to be clustered so you can visit more than one pavilion per evening. The first week features one set of pavilions. Another set is featured on the second week.

You can visit these sites on your own or through a tour. There are many types of VIP Tours but they usually include passes to two to three pavilions, air-conditioned transportation (except for VIP Cycle and VIP Walking Tours), reserved seating, a meal, and a guided cultural display tour. You can check out the many VIP Tour options on the website.

Why should you see Folklorama?

Aside from the abovementioned reasons, you should experience Folklorama yourself because:

  1. It’s fun and educational – amazing dances, lively music, colourful traditional attires, beautiful ethnic crafts, and delicious food! What more can you ask for? Each pavilion is manned by friendly and welcoming ambassadors who can tell you more about the culture they are representing. It’s learning about global cultures the fun way.
  2. It holds the distinction of being the largest and longest-running festival of its kind in the world – Folklorama was first opened in 1970 in celebration of Manitoba’s centennial. The event started with 21 pavilions open for one week. The festival was so popular (it had more than 75,000 visits) that it has been held every year since.
  3. Award-winning – the festival has been cited several times for being a pioneer in promoting Manitoba’s ethno-cultural communities. Aside from numerous tourism awards, Folklorama has been recognized for having one of the most robust volunteer programs and named as one of the Top 20 major events that bring visitors to Canada.
  4. It is mostly volunteer-run – if you want to see how the spirit of volunteerism works, participate in the event. Over 20,000 volunteers who wish to promote their ethno-cultural heritage help run Folklorama every year. The event provides a variety of opportunities for fun and engaging roles for anyone interested in volunteering. And if you are 14-25 years old, Team Folklorama Youth Division has year-round activities that provide mentorship, networking, and skill-building. Interested in volunteering? Go to this page: Volunteers
  5. Advance tickets now offered online – starting July 1, 2018, tickets may now be purchased online. It’s a great way to avoid lining up for tickets at the entrance of each pavilion. Single admission tickets (adult/senior/youth) cost $6 + service fee. Children 12 and under are free (maximum five per paid adult). You can also buy group tickets and get discounts. Admission info

How to enjoy Folklorama the best possible way:

  1. Get a copy of the Folklorama Travel Guide. It will show you the pavilion opening times and locations (there is a map in the centre of the guide). It also has descriptions of the food and entertainment per site. You can choose which catches your fancy and plan your visit efficiently.
  2. Folklorama Travel Guides are available at Manitoba Liquor Marts, Cambrian Credit Union branches, Vickar Automotive Group dealerships, 7-Eleven branches, hotels, and the Folklorama office.
  3. Most people will be able to visit about three pavilions in one night. You can always come back and visit more. The festival lasts for two weeks (and there’s always next year).
  4. Arrive early to avoid line-ups.
  5. If you are coming in with a group and you wish to be seated together (for the show and dinner), ask ahead if the pavilion accepts reservations.
  6. It is best if you bring cash with you. Not all pavilions accept interac. Also note that the admission ticket price does not include food and beverage.
  7. Not all pavilions allow photos and videos. Ask at the entrance.

This year’s Folklorama Festival is on August 5-18, 2018.

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