Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Barge Festival to end up with a bang

Fireworks tonight at floating music gala

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A floating music festival will wrap up tonight with fireworks at The Forks.

The third annual Barge Festival will stay afloat until 9:30 p.m. tonight when a fireworks displays closes the free weekend event that honours the bicentennial of the Selkirk settlers' arrival from Scotland. This year, The Forks North Portage Partnership and Manitoba Lotteries teamed up with the Committee for the Bicentenary of the Red River Settlement 2012 to commemorate the Scottish-Canadian group's 200th anniversary.

Onlookers were treated to music with a Celtic flair, including Errol Ranville, Celtica. Today sees the Arrival of the Selkirk Settlers annual parade and heavy games demonstration in Festival Park. Evening acts tonight include the Dust Rhinos and the Barra MacNeils.

"What tremendous music. I'm just so enjoying it. It's such a nice way to draw the community out. There are so many people out here today enjoying this together," Olive Ulasy said.

The festival started in 2010 when Winnipeg was designated the Cultural Capital of Canada. The Barge Festival received federal funding from the designation and hosted the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and homegrown fiddler Sierra Noble at its first-ever gala event.

It has since become one of The Forks's signature events and attracted thousands.

Vern Bishop said he and his friend Pat Johnson were pleasantly surprised by the festival when they came to Winnipeg from southern Minnesota this weekend.

"I didn't know this event was going on, but it drew me in. It's very unique. It's interesting the way the acts are presented on the river like that," Bishop said.

"Oh it's a wonderful thing to have these outdoor, free performances."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 2, 2012 A3

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