Article in Brandon Sun

Crowds flock to Westman Multicultural Festival pavilions

Dancers perform for the audience at the Honduran pavilion at Knox United Church during the Westman Multicultural Festival on Friday evening.

TIM SMITH/THE BRANDON SUN Enlarge Image

Dancers perform for the audience at the Honduran pavilion at Knox United Church during the Westman Multicultural Festival on Friday evening.

The mild winter weather Friday night brought out crowds ready to take in the Westman Multicultural Festival.

Parking spots were hard to come by and some pavilions had lineups out the door, but the warmer temperatures seemed to keep the crowds in good spirits.

Veronique Ironstand with the group Mauritian Roots sings for a crowd at the Mauritian Pavilion at St. Matthew's Cathedral during the Westman Multicultural Festival on Friday evening.

Enlarge Image

Veronique Ironstand with the group Mauritian Roots sings for a crowd at the Mauritian Pavilion at St. Matthew’s Cathedral during the Westman Multicultural Festival on Friday evening. (TIM SMITH/THE BRANDON SUN)

Visitors to the Mauritian Pavilion at St. Matthew's Cathedral are served up food from the island country during the Westman Multicultural Festival on Friday evening.

Enlarge Image

Visitors to the Mauritian Pavilion at St. Matthew’s Cathedral are served up food from the island country during the Westman Multicultural Festival on Friday evening. (TIM SMITH/THE BRANDON SUN)

The Philippine pavilion, which opened at 6 p.m., was filled to capacity by 6:15 p.m.

Tables were packed full of guests, with other people taking advantage of standing room along the walls — which didn’t stop them from indulging in some chicken adobo, spring rolls and pan de sal, a sweet variety of Filipino bread.

“It’s amazing … you never know what people will want to see,” said Westman Filipino Community secretary Julianne Pabuayon.

Performances at the pavilion were ongoing, with dancing, singing and showing off different traditions.

They break out the karaoke later in the evening, Pabuayon said.

“Filipinos love to sing. We are great singers and we love karaoke,” Pabuayon said with a laugh.

Victoria Spencer and Amanda Fehr started out their evening of pavilion-hopping at the Philippine pavilion before taking in the high-energy Honduran pavilion.

“I like the smaller (pavilions), they’re different,” said Fehr, adding their next stop was to be the Mauritian pavilion. “I like getting to know the other cultures that are within Brandon … it kind of gives me an idea of where I want to go travel.”

Spencer said she likes the festival because it’s something different to do that also brings the community together.

“You don’t always have the opportunity to do this, and it’s different and fun,” Spencer said.

“It’s nice to get out and meet people.”

It’s a great opportunity for the community to celebrate its multiculturalism, Fehr said.

“There’s so many different cultures in Brandon, it’s good to know where everybody comes from and get an idea of the different cultures that make up Brandon. It’s very interesting,” Fehr said.

The Honduran pavilion is decorated floor to ceiling with blue and white balloons, the colour of the country’s flag. Hand-painted canvases of white sand beaches and tropical forests are pulled across each wall, boasting of the country’s beauty.

Guests feasted on soft tacos and meatballs while dancers — wearing blue, white, pink and purple flowing skirts and flowers in their hair — took to the stage to merengue music.

By the end of the performance, they pulled up half the audience to dance with them, while the ones too shy to go up couldn’t help but dance in their seats.

While these pavilions have live entertainment throughout the evening, there are more than enough to take you into the night.

The Ukrainian pavilion will keep you dancing until midnight, while the English and Irish pavilions go until 1 a.m.

“We’ve got live bands coming every night, people from the Ukrainian community performing. We’ve also got the dance group to perform their dances and show off their costumes,” said Ukrainian committee organizer Curtis Hullick.

“It’s about sharing our culture and spreading it with the community.”

The English pavilion has some new performers as well as some community favourites, said volunteer Heather Karrouze.

“We have Charlotte Castle performing … (this) afternoon and we have an 11-piece brass ensemble called Enigma Variations that are also new to us this year … we’re pretty excited about that. Then of course we have the maypole dancers back again this year, and The Beetles,” Karrouze said. “We have quite a jam-packed lineup.”

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SATURDAY’S SCHEDULE

Ukrainian Pavilion

• Ukrainian Reading Hall — 1005 Assiniboine Ave.

• Entertainment — The Brandon Troyanda School of Ukrainian Dance, The Sawchuk Sisters, Tryzub Ukrainian Canadian Association and The Stykalo’s & Co.

• Saturday showtimes — 1 p.m., 1:40 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m.

• Doors close at 12 a.m.

English Pavilion

• Grand Salon, Victoria Inn — 3550 Victoria Ave.

• Entertainment — Maypole dancers, Charlotte Castle, Village Green Morris Dancers, The Enigma Variations, and The Beetles.

• Saturday showtimes — 1:30 p.m., 2:15 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 7 p.m., 8:15 p.m., 9 p.m., 10:15 p.m., 11:15 p.m.

• Doors close at 1 a.m.

Honduran Pavilion

• Knox United Church — 451 18th St.

• Entertainment — Honduran dance and music

• Saturday showtimes — 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m., 7 p.m., 8 p.m., 10 p.m.

• Doors close at 11 p.m.

Irish Pavilion

• Regency Ballroom, Royal Oak Inn — 3130 Victoria Ave.

• Entertainment — Jesse Large & Pearl Carnahan, McConnell School of Dance, Tame Fox, Cribreagh, Tom Foolery, Shameless Folk, Seamus Ojibway

• Saturday showtimes — 1 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:15 p.m., 4 p.m., 4:45 p.m., 5:45 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 7:15 p.m., 8:15 p.m., 9 p.m., 10:30 p.m., 11:15 p.m.

• Doors close at 1 a.m.

Mauritian Pavilion

• St. Matthew’s Cathedral — 403 13th St.

• Entertainment — Island Vibe Dance Group

• Saturday showtimes — 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m., 7 p.m., 8 p.m., 9 p.m., 10 p.m., 11 p.m.

• Doors close at 12 a.m.

Philippine Pavilion

• Ukrainian National Home — 1133 Stickney Ave.

• Entertainment — Traditional dances from different parts and different ethnic groups of the Philippines and a band playing original music from the Philippines.

• Saturday showtimes — 1:30 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m., 7 p.m., 8 p.m., 9 p.m., 10 p.m.

• Doors close at 11 p.m.

Scottish Pavilion

• Imperial Ballroom, Victoria Inn — 3550 Victoria Ave.

• Entertainment — Westman Dancers, Suzuki Cellos & Fiddles, Katherine Sherris, David Caldwell, Crofters, Mixed Company

• Saturday showtimes — 1 p.m., 1:40 p.m., 2:10 p.m., 2:40 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m., 4:35 p.m., 5 p.m., 6:10 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 7 p.m., 8 p.m., 8:25 p.m., 9 p.m., 10 p.m., 10:30 p.m.

• Doors close at 11 p.m.

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 28, 2017