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Brandon Sun – PRINT EDITION

Volunteers make pavilions possible

The Westman Multicultural Festival is in full swing, but for the hard-working volunteers behind each pavilion, it has been weeks in the making.

There are seven pavilions in the festival this year — English, Honduran, Irish, Ukrainian, Mauritian, Scottish and Philippine — with a small army manning each one.

Olivia Wilson, left, and Taylor Patton chow down on perogies at the Ukrainian pavilion on Thursday evening.

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Olivia Wilson, left, and Taylor Patton chow down on perogies at the Ukrainian pavilion on Thursday evening. (COLIN CORNEAU/THE BRANDON SUN)

A procession heads to the stage with a ceremonial haggis for the Scottish pavilion during the opening night of the Westman Multicultural Festival.

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A procession heads to the stage with a ceremonial haggis for the Scottish pavilion during the opening night of the Westman Multicultural Festival. (COLIN CORNEAU/THE BRANDON SUN)

Alex Gordon waves the flag at the Scottish pavilion on Thursday evening.

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Alex Gordon waves the flag at the Scottish pavilion on Thursday evening. (COLIN CORNEAU/THE BRANDON SUN)

Crowds line the entrance at the Ukrainian Reading Hall during the opening night of the Westman Multicultural Festival.

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Crowds line the entrance at the Ukrainian Reading Hall during the opening night of the Westman Multicultural Festival. (COLIN CORNEAU/THE BRANDON SUN)

Early Thursday afternoon, the Ukrainian Pavilion at the Ukrainian Reading Hall was already decorated and ready to go, with a brand-new stage set up waiting to show off Ukrainian dancers to an audience.

“We’ve been decorating since last week,” said Curtis Hullick, a member of the Ukrainian organizing committee. “We have so many (volunteer) shifts this year, the volunteer schedule is ridiculous. We have 20 volunteers per shift … with 70 volunteers in total.”

This is the first time the Brandon Troyanda School of Dance has put on the pavilion, Hullick said, adding there is a surprising amount of work involved.

“There was some pretty strong leadership in the past, so taking it over made us realize how much work is involved in organizing an event like this — it’s not an easy task,” Hillock said. “The volunteer base we have is a blessing — we couldn’t have done it without them.”

This year the amount of dancers involved has increased, and with that brings new family and friends eager to help out, said Jason Kurchaba, a fellow member of the Ukrainian organizing committee.

“we have 85 dancers this year, so our numbers keep increasing year after year…without all those people it would be impossible to do this,” Kurchaba said. “We’re pretty fortunate.”

The English Pavilion was also well set up prior to the opening ceremonies, with volunteers coming in a day or two early to decorate the Grand Salon at the Victoria Inn with flags hanging from the ceiling.

For Ed Carter, who has been volunteering for about five years, the English Pavilion is a taste of home.

“It’s a lot of fun for a start … It’s just a great atmosphere. I’m also from England, so I feel a little obligated as well,” Carter said, laughing. “It gets everyone out during the winter months, and everyone gets to try some of the excellent English food, contrary to popular belief.”

This year, Carter said he will be volunteering every night as a bartender.

“I won’t necessarily get to enjoy being a visitor, but it’s a lot of fun being behind the bar, talking to everybody,” Carter said.

English Pavilion volunteer Heather Karrouze also finds organizing and helping out during the event just as fun as attending.

“It’s a terrific time for volunteers as well, we get to work with (fellow volunteers) and people … just have a really lovely weekend,” Karrouze said.

Much like the other pavilions, it takes a lot of people to get the English pavilion running, Karrouze said, adding they have about 50 to 60 volunteers.

“We have volunteers who have been with us right from the very first year — that very frosty, 40 below weekend that we had many years ago,” Karrouze said. “It’s very satisfying. At the end of the weekend, we’re really tired, we’re really happy and we’ve all had a really good time — we’ve brought the community out to celebrate and that makes it worth it.”

» edebooy@brandonsun.com

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SIDEBAR: Today’s schedules

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..

•Friday night showtimes — 6 p.m., 6:40 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m.

• Doors close at 11 p.m.

English Pavilion

• Grand Salon, Victoria Inn — 3550 Victoria Ave.

• Entertainment — Maypole dancers, Charlotte Castle, The Enigma Variations, and The Beetles.

• Friday night showtimes — 6:30 p.m., 7 p.m.,

7:45 p.m., 8:15 p.m., 9:15 p.m., 10:15 p.m., 11:10 p.m.

• Doors close at 1 a.m.

Honduran Pavilion

• Knox United Church — 451 18th St.

• Entertainment — Honduran dance and music

• Friday night showtimes — 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 — MNM, McConnell School of Dance, Tame Fox, Tom Foolery, Shameless Folk, Seamus Ojibway

• Friday night showtimes — 6 p.m., 6:45 p.m.,

7:45 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 9:15 p.m., 10:15 p.m., 11 p.m.

• Doors close at 12 a.m. or later, depending on the crowd.

Mauritian Pavilion

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

• Entertainment — Island Vibe Dance Group

• Friday night showtimes — 6 p.m., 7 p.m., 8 p.m., 9 p.m., 10 p.m.

• Doors close at 11 p.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.

• Friday night showtimes — 6:30 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, Nuthin’ But Trouble

• Friday night showtimes — 6:45 p.m., 9 p.m., 10:30 p.m.

• Doors close at 1 a.m.

*For Saturday’s pavilion entertainment and showtimes, check out Saturday’s edition of The Brandon Sun.

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 27, 2017