Marco Castillo brings his Brazilian Beats to Winnipeg's first "Carnaval on Bannatyne" (Jolene Olive)
Marco Castillo will feel right at home. The Brazilian-born Winnipeg-based musician will be performing at the first Carnaval on Bannatyne in the east part of the Exchange this weekend. Castillo cut his teeth playing in lively street festivals in his native Rio de Janeiro.
"It's a really nice initiative," says Castillo, who promises a high-energy, upbeat show. "I'm very excited because it's something unique in Winnipeg. It's about giving people a real sense of what a Brazilian carnaval is like."
With several new restaurants opening in the area, it's starting to feel like Winnipeg's own Latin Quarter. "We want to make a festival that showcases the vibrancy of that culture," says Alejandro Mora, one of the organizers of the event. "We're taking it back to where it's from. It should be a fun atmosphere."
Festivities include all of the ingredients that go into a true Latin Carnaval: hot music, rhythmic dancing and fabulous food, all served up on an outdoor patio. There will even be a traditional pig roast.
The party gets going on Bannatyne near Waterfront Waterfront on Friday evening at 7:00 and Saturday at 5:00 with Clyde Heerah and Paradize Band and their Caribbean sound, Mariachi Ghost and Marco Castillo with his Brazilian Beats. His band will be joined by samba dancer Marcia Monteggia, Winnipeg's leading samba dancer.
Four businesses in the area have teamed up to sponsor this inaugural festival: Hermanos, Corrientes Pizzeria, Boon Burger and Alive in the District night club.
Noel Bernier, owner of Hermanos and fellow organizer, is really looking forward to bringing people down to this side of the Exchange. He calls it one of Canada's most beautiful and unique neighborhoods, with the great historical buildings of Bannatyne and Waterfront Boulevard presenting an image of the future.
"I hope people will have a positive interaction with the street," he says.