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Filipino festival takes to the streets

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These colourfully dressed dancers were part of the parade at last year’s Manitoba Filipino Street Festival.

JORDAN THOMPSON/CANSTAR FILE PHOTO Enlarge Image

These colourfully dressed dancers were part of the parade at last year’s Manitoba Filipino Street Festival. Photo Store

The highly anticipated third annual Manitoba Filipino Street Festival is all set for Aug. 23, at the Sears parking lot at Leila Avenue and McPhillips Street.

This huge event is the largest street festival in Manitoba and it’s a showcase of the rich history, culture and diversity of the Philippines Islands.

The Philippines is a land of festivals. The country has 80 provinces and each province has its own cultural and religious festivals.

Ley Navarro, chairman of sponsorships and promotions for the street festival said, "festivals are usually celebrated in the Philippines on the streets, where people can extend friendship and hospitality to one another."

Two weeks ago, the super talented Julienne Jeremy Reyes was crowned queen of the 2014 street festival.

This year, there will be at least 50 Filipino organizations and 17 parade floats and organizers are confident they will top last year’s attendance numbers.

The all-day event starts at 9 a.m. at Northgate Shopping Centre, starting point for a parade of floats and festival dancers that will proceed six blocks north, to the Sears festival grounds.

Each of the participating organizations will set up a tent (a mini-pavilion, if you wish) to display regional cultural items and products.

The non-stop entertainment includes graceful folk dances, top singers, martial arts displays and a high energy "bamboo dance" called tinikling.

This year’s special guest is popular Filipino movie star and entertainer Piolo Pascual, whose appearance is sponsored by TFC, the biggest television network in the Philippines. Piolo will take centre-stage in the afternoon on event day.

Also, for the very first time in Canada, the festival will feature a kalesa, which was the Cadillac of transportation during Spanish colonial times. This luxury, horse-drawn coach is expected to be a big draw.

"We celebrate in the streets of Winnipeg in the spirit of unity and friendship. It’s great that in Canada,we have the freedom to celebrate our traditions and express our beliefs" said festival chairperson Aida Champagne.

Derek Dabee is a community correspondent for The Maples. You can contact him at ddabee@mymts.net

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