As week one of Folklorama winds down, the 45th annual celebration is gearing up for the second week of food, dance, community and culture. 

The festival, which started in 1970 and originally only lasted one week, has always relied heavily on the contributions of volunteers.

Lena Takatsu is spending a large part of her Folklorama experience volunteering in the kitchen at the Japanese pavilion.

Takatsu has been volunteering with Folklorama for more than 40 years.

"Once a year all the community gets together and do Folklorama and I think they all like it and appreciate it, doing volunteer work," said Takatsu.

Her cooking is famous within the Japanese-Canadian community and she's brought some of that culinary magic to a Folklorama kitchen this year.

The Japanese pavilion is just one of more than 40 at Folklorama in 2014.

20,000 strong

The festival has blossomed into a two week event with over 400,000 visitors.

"Every single one of the pavilions is managed and operated by volunteers,” said Debra Zoerb, executive director of Folklorama.”

There are over 20,000 volunteers pitching in at this year’s Folklorama, Zoerb said, many of them also involved in the various cultural productions and performances on display

“A number of them also have a number volunteer performers, so every time you're encountering someone in the pavilions it's most likely a volunteer."

Participating in the passing on of traditions is a big part of why Takatsu keeps coming back year after year.

"We like to keep our culture together and I think the young people should know Japanese culture,” said Takatsu. “I think that's what Folklorama means that way."