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Cochrane festival showcases multiculturalism

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Marina Kyoseva, in traditional Bulgarian dance attire, will perform at the Sept. 29 Cochrane Culture Festival. Photo/Cochrane Eagle

A diverse celebration to showcase the many cultures in Cochrane will take place Sept. 29, as the Cochrane Lions Event Centre will open its doors to the inaugural Cochrane Culture Fest.

Previously known as the “community picnic” – in partnership with citizenship ceremonies – Culture Fest will now have its own title and day of celebrations.

“We had some funding left over from Calgary Foundation, and they encouraged us to keep the funding and put on a cultural celebration. So, we thought it would make more sense to have the cultural celebration in conjunction with Alberta Culture Days,” said Jackie Shier, member of the event’s planning committee.

Cochrane Immigrant Services Committee and Helping Hands Society have been planning the event since March.

“We really wanted to focus on the multicultural component because Cochrane is growing. We have more and more people from other countries coming in, and people don’t realize how diverse we are now,” Shier said. “We just wanted to highlight that Cochrane is changing.”

The festival will include entertainment inside the event centre, allowing the main event to take place rain or shine.

“We will have a stage set up and we will have a program running throughout the afternoon. We have nine different performances that will be happening, either musical or dance-related,” Shier said.

In the same area as the stage, there will be booths representing different countries of the world. Currently, there are 14 cultures that have confirmed, but Shier is hoping to see 16. From traditional items to food samples, the booths will showcase parts of each culture. One such booth will be Bulgaria, where Marina Kyoseva – who immigrated to Canada 12 years ago – will perform traditional folklore with her group Haide Na Horoto, which translates to “come on, let’s dance.”

Other cultures confirmed to participate include Bolivia, Ghana, England, India, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and El Salvador, to name a few.

Booths are still available, and those interested can email culturefest@helpinghandscochrane.ca for more information.

Outside the centre, the Boys and Girls Club of Cochrane and Area will host a fundraiser barbecue, a youth magician will perform, a face painter will transform attendees, the Cochrane Rainbows Group will have entertainment, and local organization and vendors will be on hand, as well.

Door prizes are available to be won through a bingo-style game that connects festival-goers with the culture booths. A series of questions from the bingo card will need to be answered before participants can enter it into the door-prize draw.

“The Faces of Cochrane Mosaic” will also be at the festival. The project allows participants to take a photo of themselves holding up a sign of where they are originally from and the photos will be made into a mosaic intended to travel throughout Cochrane. Shier said she is hoping for 60 to 80 photos to complete the project.

The Cochrane Culture Fest takes place Sept. 29 from 1 to 5 p.m.




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