Motif pulls a 180 with record year

Justin Crann
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Festival brings in 15 diverse vendors

A year ago, the Motif Festival was close to being cancelled.

Representatives of the Moose Jaw Russian Association (left to right) Olga, Nicole and Alexandra pose with a matryoshka set arranged in a row. The Russian Association is just one of many different groups representing the rich cultural tapestry of the Friendly City during Motif in Happy Valley Park this weekend.

This year, the three-day celebration of Moose Jaw's cultural diversity has more vendors than it has ever had before.

"It's been a complete 180," said Jillian Taylor, the festival's co-ordinator. "There was concern last year. We thought, for a while, that it wouldn't get off the ground. Luckily it did, and this year it has been smooth sailing."

'Smooth sailing' might be an understatement. In its 40th year, Motif has managed to set a record for number of vendors at 15, each representing a different cultural group within the Friendly City's tapestry.

"Each cultural association works together with others, year-round, to make this happen," said Taylor. "We have everyone come together for this one, common goal. It's really nice."

The festival's set up is simple.

Contained entirely within Happy Valley Park, "all of the cultural booths are set up in a horseshoe," explained Taylor.

"You can easily walk from booth to booth, and there's picnic tables in the middle so you can sit and watch the entertainment," she added. "It's conducive to people who want to come and spend the day — or the weekend — taking in the entertainment and enjoying the food."

Taylor said the festival's organizers are expecting nice weather — another 180 turn from the previous year, when the Saturday brought with it a deluge of rain.

But two things that haven't changed, and that people may want to come prepared to deal with, are parking and bugs.

"On-site parking is $2, but it is limited, so it may be easier to find street parking and walk down into the valley," said Taylor. "And we did spray for mosquitoes, but we are in the valley, so bring some bug repellent."

Another important item to bring: cash.

"Obviously, we don't have any ATMs down here," said Taylor. "If you want to taste different foods or purchase things from the different booths, bring some cash so you can take it all in."

Motif continues Saturday and Sunday in Happy Valley Park. For more information on the festival, visit their website.

Find Justin Crann on Twitter.

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Happy Valley Park, Friendly

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