Province gives boost to community celebrations

Eight communities in Westman are getting cash injections from the Manitoba government to bolster community celebrations, as part of the province’s Arts, Culture and Sport in Community Fund.

The province announced on Monday that it’s granting a total of $260,000 to 50 community events across Manitoba, including $2,500 to Arts Mosaic Inc.’s Multicultural Street Festival in Virden, which was held this year on Oct. 2.

The event was a collaboration between Arts Mosaic, Westman Immigrant Services’ Virden office, and the Border Regional Library Virden Branch, said Christa Milne, executive director at Arts Mosaic in Virden, 77 kilometres west of Brandon.

This year’s event, which featured a potluck dinner, live entertainment, dancing, karaoke and more, was the first ever, and Milne said the province’s funding will help to make it happen again for the community next year.

“We’re hoping this will be an annual event … we’ve had other groups and people from the community come and say, ‘If you’re doing it next year, we want to help, we want to be involved,’” Milne said.

One of the highlights of this year’s event, Milne said, was a “unity art project” that consisted of a board with 30 different “identifiers” on it.

“It had different things like, ‘I am Canadian,’ ‘I was born outside of Canada,’ ‘I’m a parent,’ ‘I’m an artist,’ ‘I’m a traveller’ — all these different things people could identify with. What each person got to do was take a ball of yarn and wrap the ball around each peg that showed who they were,” Milne said. “We’re going to keep building on [the project] each year.”

Ste. Rose du Lac’s Hoof ‘n’ Holler Days celebrated its 44th year in early October. Ashley Vandepoele, president of Hoof ‘n’ Holler Days Inc., said the $5,000 the group is receiving from the province will help make next year’s 45th annual celebrations, set to take place from Oct. 7-9, bigger and better than ever.

“[For the] 45th anniversary, we’re going to bring back the rodeo,” Vandepoele said. “Part of why we celebrate in the fall is because we celebrate the harvest. We are the cattle capital of Manitoba, a very agriculturally based community.”

As far as Vandepoele can remember, it has been around 10 years since the rodeo has been part of Hoof ‘n’ Holler Days. She said she hopes it’ll make a comeback thanks to interest from local youth.

“We’ve got a few young girls right now in the community who are doing rodeo, so that’s really exciting.”

The province has also granted the unincorporated community of Alexander $3,300 for its Pre-Canada Day Committee; the Cypress River-Holland Community Development Corporation $5,000 for its annual Christmas parade and activities; the Dauphin and District Chamber of Commerce $5,000 for its annual street fair and dance; the Municipality of Glenella-Lansdowne $5,000 for its Canada Day celebrations; Sifton Recreation $3,000 for its Harvest Festival; and the Spruce Lakes Recreation Commission $3,500 for its ’Tis the Season celebrations. The Sun reached out to the communities, but did not receive a reply by press time.

Celebrations like these help Manitobans come together to pay tribute to their culture, heritage and community, provincial Sport, Culture and Heritage Minister Andrew Smith stated in a press release sent out on Monday.

“Our government is proud to support community organizations through the Arts, Culture and Sport in Community fund, allowing them to innovate and respond to community needs,” Smith said.

The fund, which earmarked $100 million to give out to different community organizations over a three-year period, was established in August of this year. It distributes funds through large capital projects, small capital projects and special initiatives, as well as community celebrations. Applications are reviewed on a quarterly basis, and the current intake date is open until Dec. 15.

Miranda Leybourne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun