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This article was published 7/8/2017 (1349 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A young singer sent her spot-on notes through the cinnamon-scented air as people came in fluxes to join the all-ages party at The Forks.
Manitoba’s beloved Dancing Gabe summed it up in one word: "Fabulous."
He wove through the crowd with his signature moves, showcasing one more local icon on Manitoba Day at the Canada Summer Games festival.
The visiting athletes were surprised to find out the woman belting out originals from the main stage, Faouzia, is Manitoba-grown.
"She’s amazing," said Kaitlyn Morgan, a wrestler from Newfoundland and Labrador.
Locals also cashed in the chance to take in local talent for free.
"There’s so much quality music," said Bailley Strom, a Winnipegger who has visited the festival a few times already. "People don’t see Manitoba as a cultural centre, but then you see this and you realize how much variety we have."
The variety stretched from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet to children’s singer Fred Penner to blues-rock favourites the New Meanies to indie-rock outfit Royal Canoe, who all appeared in the diverse lineup.
But the biggest name of the night was the Crash Test Dummies, Manitoba’s source of pride when it comes to homegrown success stories. The band, which received international attention in the 1990s with singles such as Superman’s Song and Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm, reunited just for the Games. The last time the group played together in Winnipeg was 2010 at the Burton Cummings Theatre, but this time they were joined by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, an extra incentive for locals to pack the festival park.
"It is really great that we get to show (Manitoba’s talent) to other people. I think people look over us and Saskatchewan because we’re just kind of the prairies that people think are boring, but we’re actually just a big hub — we’re right in the middle," said Strom.
Between the non-stop performances, which went on for more than eight hours, an ever-growing crowd, and a family fun zone, visitors were surprised.
"It’s really nice... I didn’t think it would be that big, but it’s huge," said Emily Temple, an athlete from Newfoundland and Labrador.