Chinatown Street Festival broadens its cultural celebration this weekend
By: Staff Writer
KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Kevin Woo and Yanisa Wu demonstrate martial arts and Chinese dance before the weekend festival.
THIS weekend the streets of Chinatown will again fill with lion dancers, music and a merchant market.
It’s the third annual Chinatown Street Festival but the two-day event will not only celebrate the Winnipeg Chinese community, said Kevin Fan, executive director of the Winnipeg Chinese Cultural Centre. This year there will be First Nations and African dance groups as well as the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.
“This event is to promote multiculturalism in Winnipeg — kind of like a mini Folklorama,” Fan says. “We want to show that Chinatown is a place for everyone.”
This free street festival started in 2009 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first families to settle the neighbourhood north of what is now city hall. Back then half a dozen families set up shop and created the enclave that has become the city’s destination for authentic Chinese food and shopping.
The festival became a two-day event last year and drew 1,500 people.
“We expected a little more, but there were similar events going on at the time, but it’s still a good turnout,” says Fan.
The street festival is now an annual event, he says.
Stefano Grande, the Downtown BIZ executive director, says the festival celebrates the important and historic community of Chinatown.
“It’s another great event that attracts people downtown for a unique experience,” Grande says.
King Street between James and Alexander avenues will be closed to traffic this weekend for the event. The festival kicks off at noon and runs until 8 p.m. on Saturday and then again from noon until 6 p.m. on Sunday.