View From the Legislature

Strong Return of Summer Festivals

  • Kelvin Goertzen, Author
  • Member of the Legislative Assembly, Steinbach

Manitoba is known for its strong and diverse line-up of summer festivals and events. After long months of winter, it is something that Manitobans look forward to and we share those experiences with the many people who come to the province to take them in as well.

And while some of these events have been able to happen in a limited way over the past two years, they were often scaled down or missing signature elements. The return this summer of these community and provincial celebrations has been made more difficult by the challenge of getting volunteers and because of the months of advance planning that often needs to take place. But across Manitoba, local organizers and community groups have stepped up and done a tremendous job of putting together a strong summer events calendar.

This past weekend in Steinbach, the annual Pioneer Days festival took over the grounds of the Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) museum with a full line-up of demonstrations and entertainment. The weekend began in Steinbach with a parade down Main Street that saw thousands of residents from across the southeast line the route. All of the organizers and volunteers, especially the Steinbach Chamber of Commerce, should be proud of being able to coordinate such a successful return of the parade along with the staff at MHV for hosting people from around the world on their grounds.

Also, this past weekend Folklorama returned for the beginning of a two-week festival. While not all pavilions were able to return for this year, across Winnipeg there are dozens of different pavilions offering ethnic food and programs. I was able to attend three pavilions this past weekend and met several local residents who were taking in the return of this landmark festival which began in 1970 and has developed into the largest and longest running multicultural festival of its kind in the world. Each of the pavilions and their volunteers have done a tremendous job of getting Folklorama back on stage for 2022.

While it is great to see fairs and festivals back for a strong return this year, the impact of rising costs and reduced programing over the past two years have had an impact on our strong provincial arts, culture and sports community. As a result, last week the provincial government announced a new three-year, $100 million fund to benefit capital projects, community celebrations and special initiatives within the arts, culture and sports sectors.

As Manitobans continue to enjoy the summer months, whether through attending community events, visiting our provincial parks, travelling to other parts of Canada or enjoying time at home, there is much to be optimistic about in our province as communities’ come together and celebrate the uniqueness of Manitoba.