Published July 13, 2016
BY JENNIFER PARSONS
Red Lake’s Norseman Festival is just around the corner and organizers say a number of community groups have jumped on board to provide new entertainment and old family favorites for festival attendees.
“We are trying to change the nature of the festival to a place where different community groups can come and run their activities at,” said Duane Riddell. “Rather than the concept of these groups doing all the logistics themselves, we are doing that for [them]. We are facilitating, we provide the tents. Yes there is a cover charge to get in but that pays for the entertainment, the insurance policies, and liabilities that a lot of people aren’t thinking about.”
Riddell says this is not a new concept, however, this year the community is strongly behind the idea and there are sponsors for almost all the major events.
“We know that we can’t [host the festival] with only the small dedicated group of volunteers,” says Riddell noting the committee’s time is often taken up by the paperwork and logistics necessary to facilitate the event. “We can’t do what needs to be done and host children’s activities and drive the Norseman Express.”
This is the 24th year for the annual festival that started out as an aviation celebration and has transitioned into street festival filled with food and merchandise vendors, activities for children and live entertainment for all ages.
Riddell says the goal of organizers going forward is to provide an opportunity for community groups to fundraise and gain exposure in the community while working to give these groups a paying audience.
He notes the Pow-Wow committee, who was involved with Rock the Runway earlier this month received a $2,000 donation from the Norseman Festival, and those who are participating in events such as the beer gardens during the festival are poised to earn more for their weekend’s work.
Activities will be centralized in Centennial Park for 2016, and kicking things off is the returning Ribfest on Thursday night. Family and friends are invited the United Church for a fish fry before heading to the Fountain Tire Kids Movie “Zootopia” at the Heritage Centre on Friday.
Saturday will feature the Chamber of Commerce Corn Roast and the Law Enforcement Torch Run, Activities, games, vendor village will be set up in Centennial Park and Norseman Sightseeing trips will be available through the Festival booth.
Entertainers set to take the stage include Jake Chenier, Dan the Magic Man, Agathe and Jade, Street Circus and Krazy Madness and Grant Leutshaft.
For a full list of events and times check out www.norsemanfestival.on.ca
Community groups involved in holding activities during Norseman Days include: The Aiken Family, Chimo Air Service, English River Miners, Fountain Tire, Freedom 55 Financial, Goldcorp, Highway 105 Tourism and Marketing Board, Instep Dance, Knights of Columbus, Lucky Mutts, Lutheran Church, Ministry of Natural Resources, Norseman Festival Committee, Northwest EMS, OPP, Pow-Wow Committee, Red Lake Chamber of Commerce, Red Lake Fire Rescue, Heritage Centre, Red Lake Area Emergency Shelter, Red Lake Lion’s Club, Standard Insurance, Thunder Bay Airport Services, Ukrainian Church, and the United Church.