By Lindsay Briscoe
Red Lake was all abuzz this past weekend as the community joined cities and towns across the country for the annual Culture Days events to celebrate the area’s rich history, roots and multiculturalism.
Culture Days coordinator Rihkee Strap says she is pleased with the turnout, the variety of events and especially the sunshine and t-shirt temperature.
“For Saturday’s music in the park event the weather was perfect,” she says. “People had their blankets out and little picnics.”
The entertainment was a family-friendly mix of rock and folk music, including local talent and Mr. Ken – a children’s performer from Winnipeg – who kicked off the season for the area’s Family Entertainment Series.
“It’s not some small town where nothing is going on. There are tons of arts groups…creative people,” adds Strap.
Culture Days events were spread out between the Legion, Centennial Park and the Heritage Centre – making it easy to hop from one event to the next.
On Friday evening, St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church dished up their traditional pyrogi, sauerkraut, sausages and pickled beets, while a panel of local and out-of-town writers talked on the theme “healing words” and how it pertains to their work and lives as part of the Turtle Island Writing Festival at the Heritage Centre. Strap says that about 15 people showed up for both writing workshops on Saturday and that the Heritage Centre was packed for the opening ceremonies.
“Winona LaDuke had this really nice circle of people. There wasn’t an empty chair,” she says.
About 250 people showed up to browse the stalls in front of the Legion on Saturday with goods ranging from fresh donuts, produce and pulled pork sandwiches to books, jewellery, perennial bulbs and Avon products. Inside the Legion, the Red Lake Pow-Wow Committee was hard at work preparing bannock and Indian tacos while the kids – and the young at heart – worked on crafts like beading, mask making and Ukrainian egg decorating.
On Saturday evening, Winnipeg’s Ramblin’ Dan Frechette drew a small yet intimate crowd to the Legion for his rendition of 80s songs – including Cyndi Lauper’s “Girl’s Just Wanna Have Fun” – played in the bluegrass style from his album “A Tease Done Bluegrass.”
She adds that the Howey Bay Motel covered the room Mr. Frechette and although there was no cover for the show, the audience was very generous with donations.
“Dan Frechette was amazing,” says Strap. “Everyone bought at least one CD. Some people bought two.”
Sunday’s turnout was significantly smaller than the other two days but there were still a few people enjoying the beautiful weather, paining a mural at the skate park and playing a game of touch football at the baseball field.
Strap says she would like to thank Cheryl Wilson-Smith and Cathy Quesnel-Loessl of the Chukuni Communities Development Corporation for their support and for helping her get this year’s Culture Days off the ground. She thanks all the generous sponsors and is excited for next year’s Culture Days celebration and says that there is a lot of room for the events to grow.
For more Culture Days photos visit the Northern Sun News Facebook page.