Return of Culturama takes shape with events and public participation

By Allan Bradbury
Staff Writer

Events and performers are starting to come together as the weekend of Aug. 5-7 approaches, though Kayleigh Speirs, Fort Frances Museum curator and event co-ordinator says it probably won’t look like Culturamas of the past.

Speirs says they are hoping for many volunteers to help fill out some of the events the organizing committee has planned. One of those is a kind of cultural fashion show.

“There’s one event we’re planning that we’d love for people to take part in,” says Speirs. “It’s called Diversity through Fashion. It’s basically going to be showing different regalia or different cultural attire, but also explaining the meaning behind it. As an example, if you’re at a powwow or something, you see all these dancers you don’t always know the significance of a jingle dress or something like that. So that’s one event where we’re looking for more participants.”

Speirs says they are also hoping to enlist more vendors for the event at Rainy Lake Square.

“That can be any sort of cultural food or craft or if people want to come and showcase their artwork or things like that, that’s fine too,” says Speirs.

For an event like Culturama to go well, many volunteers are needed. Help with set up and tear down on Friday and Sunday and help with other things around the Rainy Lake Square will all be required.

They are also hoping to be able to hold a variety of cultural workshops and are looking for proposals on that front.

They are in the process of booking performing groups as well.

“We’ve been booking different performers,” says Speirs. “We are in the process of booking a Ukrainian dance group from Thunder Bay. We have at least one band booked so far and we’re hoping to book two. We have Nite Hawk Band and I’ve also booked Nikki Komaksiutiksak, an Inuit throat singer from Manitoba.”

Speirs says she also hopes to have Orville Councillor, a local Indigenous flute player as well as some hoop dancers.

“But I’m still definitely looking for more stuff if people are interested in performing,” she says.

The Ukrainian dance group will perform in a special event which will also feature a fundraising auction at Knox United Church. The proceeds of that event will go towards Atikokan Stands with Ukraine — an organization that is helping support Ukrainian refugees who are living and working in Atikokan.

Overall, Speirs says she is feeling good about how the event is coming together. If anyone is interested in getting involved, they can contact Speirs at the Fort Frances Museum or via Facebook on the Culturama page.

“I think we’re all excited,” she says. “The steering committee and people are excited. It sounds like people around town are excited for Culturama to come back too. I think something to keep in mind is that it’s going to be different than what it used to be. We’re bringing it back, but switching things up. It’s going to be done 2022 style.”