It's really special to be able to go up on that stage and say I'm Ukrainian.
—Dayna Konopelny, Ambassador to Ukraine-Kyiv Pavilion
The colours of 46 communities were visible at the launch of the annual Folklorama Thursday. Now in its 44th year, the two-week long multicultural celebration lets you take in the music, dance, food and cultural displays from ethnic groups the world over.
Dayna Konopelny and Nina Semchyshyn are ambassadors of the Ukraine-Kyiv Pavilion. They're also dancers.
"Being Ukrainian or any ethnicity, it's your identity, says Semchyshyn. "The feeling you get when you perform, it's showing appreciation for your culture and sharing it with everyone."
Konapelny couldn't agree more.
"It's really special to be able to go up on that stage and say I'm Ukrainian," she says. "My grandparents said what we do in Folklorama is so important and our pavilion is important because this is like our family."
Ukrainian food staples like varenyky and kolbassa, of course can be enjoyed.
Cuba Va Pavilion (Lance Thomson Photographic)
The Ukraine-Kyiv Pavilion and others such as the Brazilian, Caribbean, Cuban and German pavilions offer late-night bashes on the weekends.
The African Pavilion represents performances from many different countries from the continent and traditional food like fried plantain, spiced shish kebobs and samosas. Jennie Gorvie is one of the ambassadors, which she says is awesome. She's also excited to visit the other pavilions and learn about their cultures. "If you can't go on a plane to a country, Folklorama is where it's at," she says.
This is only the second year for the Indigenous Mardi Gras Pavilion, representing the unique New Orleans mix of people of African descent and North American Aboriginal society. You can compare and contrast the dance styles and regalia designs of the Mardi Gras Indians from New Orleans and Winnipeg's Aboriginal School of Dance. Local ambassador and performer Bella Flett says "to be able to express this culture is very important and it's a lot of fun, too."
Israel Pavilion (Lance Thomson Photographic)
Eunmo Kim is involved as Ambassador of the Korean Pavilion for the very first time. "I wanted to be part of Winnipeg," she says. "I wanted our community to be more involved. This is a great opportunity to get to meet a lot of people and get to know the different cultures. I just love everybody's costumes and the food and everybody's extremely friendly here."
New this year is a kick-off bash on Saturday, July 27, at the Scotiabank Stage at The Forks from 4:00 to 11:00. It features tons of performers, an ethnic market and activities for the kids, all capped off by fireworks.Folklorama runs at venues all over the city August 4 - 17.
Related: Sierra Noble's new video pushes her out of her comfort zone