Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

River can't dampen celebration

Barge festival eludes rising Red

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Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press

Keiffer McLean performs on the waterfront at The Forks Saturday during the Prairie Barge Festival.

The Prairie Barge Festival at The Forks isn't underwater -- at least not yet.

The daytime stage MCs -- all members of the improv troupe, Hot Thespian Action -- joked Saturday afternoon about having to continue moving the stage up the stairwells and away from the Red River. River levels rose considerably Friday night, said Forks spokeswoman Chelsea Thomson.

Although the barge stage and decor were moved to higher ground, all entertainment will continue to run as scheduled, Thomson said. All of the performers and artisans at the barge festival are from Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and today's lineup includes sets by Saskatoon folk-jazz group Rosie and the Riveters and Winnipeg roots band Red Moon Road.

The Leduc siblings from Ottawa -- Chloe, 10, Solène, 8, and Calixte, 5 -- were in town Saturday soaking up the local talent and some sunshine. They snuck up as close to the stage as possible with their cousins, Anna and Coralie Sabourin, for a performance of avant-garde number Boxamore by the Winnipeg Contemporary Dancers.

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

"I think it was interesting. It was cool, and they had a lot of moves," said Chloe.

Kids under the Scotiabank canopy were also profiting from the festival, some of them financially.

Ten-year-old Anna, nine-year-old Eva and seven-year-old Michael Jr. Hrycay were helping their mom, Sherri, sell handmade hats. The Hrycay family hails from Saskatoon and made the trip to Winnipeg to try to crack the tough buyer's-market. Sherri Hrycay said she has sold hats in Paris and Berlin, but never Winnipeg.

"Man, Winnipeg's a tough sell. Everybody I've tried to sell to has said, 'Well, yeah, we're the discount capital of Canada'. And I'm like, 'Oh man, you should have told me that before I came!' " she joked.

Michael Jr. modelled a fedora with 3D glasses and guided customers through his mom's catalogue. His sales motives were unabashedly personal.

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

The Prairie Barge Festival is free and continues today. A screening of the Labour Day Classic football game between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Saskatchewan Roughriders takes place at 3 p.m. at the barge, though the vendors from Saskatoon might not stick around to watch.

"We never do. We're more artsy than sporty," said Hrycay.

jessica.botelho-urbanski@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 31, 2014 A3

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Updated on Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 9:26 AM CDT: Replaces photo, removes photos, adds slideshow

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