Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Folklorama most popular summer fest: poll

Winnipeg earning rep as event hot spot

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WHEN it comes to fests, Winnipeggers like Folklorama best, according to a new poll by the Prairie Research Associates.

The poll, which is done yearly, asks Winnipeg residents about summer festivals.

Sixty-four per cent of Winnipeggers said they'd attend or have attended at least one of Folklorama, the Fringe, the Red River Ex, the Jazz festival, the folk festival, Aboriginal Day and the Children's festival. Thirty-seven per cent said they'd attend or had attended two or more.

Those numbers are slightly lower than last year, with planned attendance going down between two and four per cent for all the festivals but one.

Those most likely to attend are younger, or have household incomes of more than $70,000, the poll found.

The poll had a margin of error of about 4.6 per cent, and is accurate 19 times out of 20. The survey took place between June 11 and July 3.

Winnipeg has always been a festival city, but even more so in the past few years, said Stephano Grande, executive director of the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ said. His job revolves around downtown Winnipeg, and he's seen it transition from retail to festival-centric.

"Back when I was young, downtown was all about retail, and people flocked downtown, and retail's gone... but there's still things that bring people downtown," Grande said.

Grande said he's seen events he's organized bring people to parts of the city they might otherwise not go to, using a recent open cinema event in Memorial Park that catered to families as a prime example.

"It's great to see people walking around downtown, 10 or 11 at night, with kids," he said.

Greg Dandewich, senior vice-president of Economic Development Winnipeg, said festivals and other similar events help the city in two ways. The first is the money attendees bring in, which pours into events and downtown businesses. The second is the people who, after attending events, find out about other things to do in the city.

"Even though you might be coming to a specific festival, there are other opportunities that exist that people not familiar with the city don't realize," Dandewich said.

The more people attend these events, Dandewich said, the more people think of Winnipeg as a festival city.

"They put us on the map as a location that hosts excellent events and has excellent venues to host those events in," he said.

Grande said it's no surprise most of the events happen in summer. Even though Winnipeg has some winter festivals, such as Festival du Voyageur, residents don't like doing things outside when it's 30 below.

"Winnipeggers enjoy their summer. They enjoy getting out as much as they can. When it hits -30, -40, people just want to hunker down," he said.

oliver.sachgau@freepress.mb.ca

 

What’s your favourite Winnipeg festival and why? Join the conversation in the comments below.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 25, 2014 A9

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