Convention centre bursting with culture, enthusiasm as Folklorama kicks off


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Take a trip around the world — or around the RBC Convention Centre — and find four Folklorama pavilions bursting with culture and enthusiasm as they kick off their first night of shows.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 04/08/2019 (1333 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Take a trip around the world — or around the RBC Convention Centre — and find four Folklorama pavilions bursting with culture and enthusiasm as they kick off their first night of shows.

Helen Petroulakis, senior ambassador at the Greek Pavilion says turnout for the first show was enthusiastic considering it is the first year the pavilion is being hosted in the convention centre.

“Its a bigger venue and we were surprised when we walked in the door, there was a huge line up,” she said.

Petroulakis says she has been coming out to Folklorama since she was eight-years-old as a dancer. As the years went on, she transitioned to the roll of a volunteer, a youth ambassador and now she is experiencing her first year as a senior ambassador.

“Today is our first evening but it’s really great. People come up to us and ask to take pictures, and everyone is smiling and it’s a really positive environment,” said Petroulakis.

Petroulakis said the pavilion is truly a family affair with her children volunteering clearing tables and her husband Emannuel alongside her as a senior ambassador.

“The whole family is participating,” she said. “It’s a huge family event, our community is very family-like.”

An escalator ride up to the second floor is the First Nations Pavilion where stories accompanied by dancers performing in detailed regalia took the stage. The audience sat tapping toes to the beat of drums and munching on “Indian Tacos.” In the marketplace, dreamcatchers, moccasins, and colourfully beaded bone necklaces lined tables.

The aroma of spices and sound of music travelled just a short distance to the third floor, home to the India Pavilion.

Dhruv Patel, the entertainment chair for the India Pavilion and a member of the India Association of Manitoba said the demand for the pavilion is being met since it moved from Heather Curling Club to the RBC Convention Centre.

“That space was actually falling short for us so we decided to use a bigger venue where we can actually showcase what we actually have instead of being crowded all the time,” said Patel.

As the performances change every year, Patel said the pavilion has attempted to bring in more children and showcase the diverse culture India has to offer.

But, Patel said some festivities will never go away.

“Henna tattoos and the food are always a given at any Indian gathering,” he said with a smile.

Despite some empty seats in the venue, Patel estimates that by mid-week, the pavilion will be “packed.”

While Jennifer Hanslip said she visited the India Pavilion last year, she said it was a draw for her to come again because of its proximity to other pavilions.

“We really enjoyed the India Pavilion. It’s so colourful, lively dancing, lots of energy. It was great,” said Hanslip as she exited the venue with her family and made their way towards their next stop: the United Kingdom Pavilion.

Representing cultures from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales the United Kingdom Pavilion played off of popular cultural references by including a replica of the Harry Potter platform Nine and Three-Quarters, a cardboard cut-out of Prince Harry, and a mini-golf green for children.

In its 50th year, the two-week festival will present a total of 45 pavilions across the city.

John Woods

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