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THUNDER BAY, ON ---  April 21, 2011  --  Once again, the largest and most colourful event of the year, WORLD TOUR OF NATIONS FOLKLORE FESTIVALFolklore Festival, will be presented Saturday, April 30th and Sunday, May 1st, 2011 in Thunder Bay.  Coordinated by the Thunder Bay Multicultural Association and the Folklore Festival Committee, this 38th Annual Folklore Festival will take visitors on a trip Around the World in two fun-filled days allowing visitors to experience the magnificent sights, sounds and flavours which the various ethnocultural communities bring to our country.

The Festival showcases the diverse cultural heritage of Thunder Bay.  More than 20 regions of the world are represented by no less than 40 different ethnocultural groups.  Arriving visitors are greeted by Goodwill Ambassadors in traditional costumes and the majestic fanfare of flags of the World waving above the arena, leading to our Folklore Festival main stage, the largest in Thunder Bay, where culture and traditions will be brought to life in full and intricate colour and excitement.  Imagine the spectacle as the Thunder Bay Chinese-Canadian Association opens the Festival with its traditional Lion Dance.  In the hours that follow, many hearts are stolen during performances by junior groups like the Junior Portuguese Folklore Dancers and the Scottish dancers along with the quiet serenity in the spiritual performances of the dancers of Lakehead Japanese Cultural, and the India-Canada Associations.  The richness of our First Nations people will be experienced as the Little Eagle Singers & Dancers take the stage.  You are sure to feel the rejuvenation of your own youth as you enjoy the presentations by the Chaban, and Zorya Ukrainian Dance companies, the Le Stelle Alpine Italian dancers, Kiikurit Finnish dancers, Celtic Rhythms (Irish Stepdancers), and the Filipino performers.  You will be dancing in your seats and, perhaps, in the aisles.  The beauty of the Tai Chi Sword Dancers, Russian performers, Middle Eastern Belly Dancers, the Borneo “Dayak” dance, and the Karen (Burmese) dancers will enchant visitors.  This year once again brings the resounding music of the Pipes and Drums of Thunder Bay, the Alpini Choir, the return of the Pelmanni Orchestra, and these are only SOME of the incredible entertainers who will grace the Festival Stage.

The Children’s Area packed with free activities and crafts celebrates the Karen Community’s rich Heritage and culture. There will also be Aboriginal crafts with Fort William Historical Park. Passport to the World is back along with the always busy inflatable for children to bounce on. 

Displays and exhibits circle the stage and surrounding areas allowing visitors to see traditions come alive as they view costumes, artifacts, prized possessions, video displays, visual artists working on site, and meet the people who proudly share Canada’s heritages.  Many local artists including Kevin Belmore, Donna Heisholt, Greg Zelinski, Elliott Doxtater-Wynn will share their works of art, and exhibitors will have treasures from Ecuador, East Asia and beyond for visitors to purchase.

Tantalizing aromas call visitors to the Curling Club where the temptations of Caribbean Jerk chicken, Greek slovaki, Polish cabbages rolls, Filipino shiskabab, Chinese or Thai cuisine, Lebanese delicacies, traditional Aboriginal foods and rich pastries are just a few of the many culinary delights visitors can savor in the Food Booth area.  Top this off with a glass of imported Italian wine, a Red Stripe beer, an Espresso, a great Canadian milkshake, or a host of international favourites.  There is just time enough to gather together your exotic feast before heading back to the main stage area to experience the incredible talents of entertainers of all ages and the wonder that is Folklore Festival. 

Enter the free Draw for a “Trip for 2 to Toronto” courtesy of our new Sponsor, Porter Airlines. 
Saturday night brings you  “YOUTHFEST” celebrating the “Year of Youth” with a variety of local young Feature Entertainers and a choreographed “CULTURE Meets URBAN Fashion Show” featuring the latest fashions from The Urban Boutique and cultures of the World!  Bands CoNcEpTs, Maraday Park, and DJs Rogue & Dystrakted & Friends, Beatboxer Faith Russell, Avery Joseph Desmoulins and Desert Roses will also be “in the house” to help ROCK Folklore Festival 2011. Enjoy international “Dinner and Entertainment” at the best prices in town (the Food Court with International Beers and Wines is open until 11pm).
 Canada’s wealth lies in the richness which our Aboriginal and ethnic communities bring to our country.  The traditions, the dances, the songs, the foods have made the Canadian mosaic a treasure, which will long endure.  The Thunder Bay Multicultural Association warmly and proudly invites everyone to be part of this Canadian multicultural celebration.

 Festival hours are Saturday, 12 noon to 11 pm and Sunday 12 noon to 7 pm.  The Festival is fully accessible.  A Pre-Festival display and Press Conference including Entertainment is held the week prior to the Festival at Intercity Shopping Centre.  Programs including the Sponsors, Entertainment Schedule, Food and Exhibit Booths are distributed to people.  Our website operates year round promoting the Festival and our Sponsors.  Opening ceremonies, with our “Parade of Nations”, local members of Parliament, City Council, the Thunder Bay Multicultural Association Board of Directors, and Sponsors, will be held at 2 pm Saturday April 30 in the main stage area. 

 More than 1,000 volunteers assist in planning, performing, and preparing of site decorations, back-drops, stage, food and exhibit booths, the Children’s Area, promotion and organization.  Because of these special people, the community of Thunder Bay and visitors have the unique opportunity to experience this exquisite multicultural mosaic, the largest presentation in our Region.

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