Moose Jaw’s summer Multicultural festival has received a helping hand.
© Times-Herald photo by Lisa Goudy
Savannah Mcbean sings Oh Canada at the opening ceremonies at Motif in Happy Valley Park.
On Wednesday, Ray Boughen, MP for Palliser and member of the federal government’s arts and heritage program, announced $4,100 in funding for the Motif Moose Jaw Multicultural Festival.
“It talks about people that moved to Moose Jaw and settled, really,” said Boughen of the festival. “Historically it‘s of value particularly to young people who may not have tuned into history with any great enthusiasm at this stage of their life. It gives them a chance to see and talk with different people from different parts of the world who have become Canadians and are enjoying staying in their new country.”
This summer’s festival will run from July 11 to 13 at Happy Valley Park. The outdoor festival will offer a variety of arts and crafts, and dance and musical performances. The festival features 180 artists and artisans and sees around 5,000 people attend each year.
However, in recent years the festival has struggled financially and with bringing in volunteers. Boughen said the success the festival had last year with “limited financial involvement” encouraged the government to help.
“I think it is fair to say the government looked at that and said these few people did a good job on their own. We are going to help them this year to do a job like they did last year or maybe a little bit better,” Boughen said.
The boost financially is welcome, according to Victor Morales, an official for Motif.
“It’s really good because we run mostly on grants and donations and sponsorship,” Morales said. “All of us are volunteers and in order for us to keep everything running we rely on that money and contributions. If we don’t have that it will be very tough for us.”
The government funding will be going toward rental of equipment and the stage, along with other needs like paying temporary staff.
This year’s three-day event will be the 40th anniversary of the festival. However, according to Morales it’s becoming more challenging each year to find cultural groups to participate.
“There are so many years where (we wonder ) if it will be canceled, not because of lack of interest but lack of people that will help us from different associations,” Morales said. Simply because a lot of them are getting old.”
For those who would like to volunteer or know more about the festival contact the Moose Jaw Multicultural Council at 306-693-4677.
Nathan Frank can be reached at 306-691-1263.