Full slate of programming prepped for Culturama this weekend

By Allan Bradbury
Staff Writer

With a full lineup of performers and workshops the revival of a long lost exhibition of cultures and traditions is set to happen this weekend.

Kayleigh Speirs is the curator at the Fort Frances Museum and Cultural Centre. She has been the driving force behind the event and has spent months preparing for this weekend.

“It starts Friday at 5:00 p.m.” Speirs said. “People can expect an opening ceremony, we’re going to have a drum group, the mayor is going to speak, and we’re going to have Kyle Councillor playing, he’s an indgenious flute player.” The evening goes until 10:00 p.m. and will end off with a show from Step Down Band and Bobby Hudon will be the MC for the weekend of festivities.

A vendors market will open at the Rainy Lake Square all weekend as well. Vendors include many different food providers, like Masala, an Indian food vendor from Dryden, The Joint, a local food trailer and Mazinisin which sells indigenous themed clothing. Many other vendors will be in the square as well all weekend.

Another project that will be part of the weekend is a community mural.

“There’s also going to be a community mural being painted,” Speirs said. “Local artist Jessie Richard is going to be leading that with the design then kids and other people can help paint it. That’s going to be happening the whole weekend.

“It’s about coming together,” Speirs said. “And it has a focus on Ukrainian culture due to the ongoing conflict.”

The final location of the mural will be determined at a later date.

In addition to the mural there will be other events which focus more on Ukraine given the ongoing war and humanitarian crisis there.

The Times previously mentioned that a fundraiser for Atikokan Stands With Ukraine would take place at Knox United Church. The auction has been relocated to the Fort Frances Public Library Technology Centre and there will be Ukrainian performances at Rainy Lake Square.

“We have some Ukrainian dancers and musicians coming on Saturday,” Speirs said. “We’re going to have a fundraising auction in support of Atikokan Supports Ukraine at 6:00 p.m.”

There’s also an opportunity to learn about the history of Culturama as an event.

“People can check out the new Culturama exhibit at the museum,” Speirs said. “It goes over the history of the event up until this revival.”

There will be workshops for people to learn about different cultural practices. A beading workshop will take place at the museum led by Ashley Bombay. Also a ribbon skirt workshop will be led by Cassandra Cochrane. There will be others as well which Speirs is finalizing details for.

Among other performances at the Rainy Lake Square are Inuit throat singing, hoop dancing and a show by the Nite Hawk Band.

Overall, Speirs is optimistic that the event will go over well.

“I’m really proud of everybody that’s come together to help put this together,” she said. “Everyone that’s part of the steering committee has just been amazing. This event couldn’t happen without everybody pulling together to put this on. I think we’re feeling good, we just have some minor details to work out.”

A schedule of workshops, performances and other events is available on the Culturama Facebook Page.