'It’s sad': Folklorama cancelled this summer due to COVID-19
WINNIPEG -- Folklorama announced on Friday that the 51st edition of the festival has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It said this decision comes following consultation with government officials, the board of directors, volunteers and members.
“Folklorama is a not-for-profit organization and as such this decision was not made lightly, nor without full knowledge of its greater impact on all,” it said in a news release, noting the event is a major source of revenue for over 40 communities across the city.
Stan Hall, president of the board of directors, said the event is based on people coming together, not just for the festival itself, but for the many months it takes to prepare.
“There will be a time and place where we can all celebrate together, but following the Government of Manitoba guidelines, it cannot be this summer. We look forward to welcoming the world August 1st to 14th, 2021,” he said,
The initial Folklorama took place in 1970 as part of the Manitoba Centennial.
Last year, during the festival’s 50th anniversary, it had its largest attendance in over a decade with 455,000 visits.
“For many of us, Folklorama is home; it is tradition and a place of belonging”, said executive director Teresa Cotroneo.
“In 2019 we had a memorable 50th anniversary celebration. How fortunate are we to have this amazing milestone to look back on, as we work towards coming back stronger and making new memories in 2021.”
PAVILIONS IMPACTED BY DECISION
Samantha Luczenczyn-Lane, who is a volunteer with the Ukraine-Kyiv Pavilion said it was hard to hear that the event was cancelled as Folklorama is the highlight of her summer.
"It's sad, I know I have been checking Facebook and Instagram today and I'm seeing a lot of people, performers and volunteers and other pavilions sharing the news that it has been cancelled this year," said Luczenczyn-Lane. "Obviously we understand why. It doesn't make it any easier for us."
She said as a dancer, a lot of work has gone into preparing for this year's event.
"Folklorama for us is a whole year of prep because we practice every Friday night, my rehearsals are on Friday nights. We prep all year long for it."
She added that the group has still been staying in touch and have been doing lessons and workouts online to stay in shape.
Luczenczyn-Lane said she can't wait to be with the group again to perform.
"I know that we are looking forward to when everything comes to an end and we're able to get together and perform again, I'm sure that all the different communities are going to come together and put on something special, and Folklorama 51, which will be I guess next summer, will be bigger and better than ever.