Folklorama in your backyard: Winnipeggers can still get multicultural fix with novel approach

The 49th annual Folklorama kicks off Aug. 5 and runs until Aug. 18, 2018.
The 49th annual Folklorama kicks off Aug. 5 and runs until Aug. 18, 2018. File

When Folklorama announced the cancellation of its annual event on April 24 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it seemed to be ending a 50-year tradition beloved by Winnipeggers.

The organization, however, has come up with a novel way to keep the world’s largest and longest-running multicultural festival active — although you won’t be lining up outside any pavilions.

Folklorama’s executive director, Teresa Cotroneo, told 680 CJOB the festival was coming off a record success following its 50th instalment in 2019 when the coronavirus crisis threw a wrench into plans for a followup.

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“As this was all coming down the pipe, we thought, ‘This isn’t going to work.’ Our model is premised on people coming together and moving from place to place,” said Cotroneo.

“After cancelling, we had a lot of support from the community, and it truly inspired us to put our heads together.”

The solution? A series of virtual Folklorama celebrations in which Winnipeggers can celebrate multiculturalism from the comfort of their own homes, schools, workplaces and beyond.

“You can actually take all the elements you really enjoy from the festival — the food, the entertainment — and we actually package them up and bring them to your door,” Cotroneo said.

“You pick the theme, the culture that you’re interested in having, and we put it together — based on any budget — and you can have a Folklorama celebration in your backyard or your driveway.”

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Folklorama intends to continue reaching out in the community once schools are back in session as well.

“We really do have the capability to bring our members into the community and do a customized cultural experience that we can deliver safely, and it will also meet the Manitoba education curriculum,” Cotroneo said.

“It’s something that, unlike other programming, because we have so many members who have lived those experiences and have artifacts and crafts they can share that are truly authentic… they can have an opportunity to do it that’s not online.”

Click to play video: 'Folkolorama’s Egyptian pavilion sees regular sellouts in its first year'
Folkolorama’s Egyptian pavilion sees regular sellouts in its first year

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