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Prairie Barge Festival brings Manitoba, Saskatchewan artists to The Forks

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The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra plays at the 2014 Prairie Barge Festival at The Forks Friday night.

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra plays at the 2014 Prairie Barge Festival at The Forks Friday night. Photo Store

The Prairie Barge Festival at The Forks isn't underwater—yet.

The daytime stage MCs—all members of the improv troupe, Hot Thespian Action—joked on Saturday afternoon about having to continue moving the stage up the stairwells, away from the river throughout the day. The Red River levels rose considerably overnight, by about five inches, according to Forks spokeswoman Chelsea Thomson.

The water isn't expected to rise much more and all shows are running as scheduled, Thomson said.

The Sabourin and Leduc cousins, ages five to 10, snuck as close to water and stage as possible. They were sizing up the performers from the Winnipeg Contemporary Dancers, who performed an avant-garde number called "Boxamore."

"They were very flexible and they know exactly what to do," said Solène Leduc, 8, as she chomped on a large pickle.

Under the Scotiabank canopy, craftsmen from Manitoba and Saskatchewan sold their goods. Sherri Hrycay from Saskatoon sells her handmade hats—many of which look like they could be pulled straight off the sets of Downton Abbey—across Canada and in Europe. She said Winnipeg has been her toughest market to crack.

"Had they told me before coming that it was the bargain capital of the world, then maybe I wouldn't have come!" Hrycay joked.

The Prairie Barge Festival was a family outing for Hrycay. Her two daughters, Anna and Eva, and her son, Michael Jr., are her best salespeople at these type of events, she said.

Michael Jr., 7, modelled a fedora with 3D glasses and guided customers through his mom's catalogue.

"The more she gets money, the more I get toys," he said, smirking.

The Prairie Barge Festival runs today and tomorrow at The Forks, with performances by Manitoba and Saskatchewan artists throughout the afternoons and evenings. A screening of the Labour Day Classic game between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Saskatchewan Roughriders will also take place tomorrow at 3 p.m. at the barge.

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