Ucluelet locals Barb Gudbranson and Kasia Kromka wore their cultures proudly at the West Coast's first annual Folklore Festival.

Folklore Festival shines in successful debut

Festival coordinator Lyvi Rivera said the event will return bigger and better next year.

The West Coast recently showcased its cultural diversity at the first annual Folklore Festival.

The festival was held at the Ucluelet Community Centre on Nov. 14 and its coordinator Lyvi Rivera told the Westerly she was “overjoyed” with the turnout.

“Everyone’s really into it,” she said.

“It’s a constant flow of high energy. People are dancing, people are playing music, we even had some spontaneous musicians show up adding to the energy and it’s been great.”

One of the musicians was Kevin Barnhorst of The Reprieve who said he had read about the event and thought it would be a solid busking opportunity and was stoked to be welcomed into the festival.

“It’s really great to celebrate multicultural heritages,” Barnhorst said.

“It’s cool to see people bring forward the parts of their family history that you don’t come across in everyday life. You meet all sorts of people without ever really finding out where they’re from, or what their heritage is, so it’s really neat so see that come out of people.”

Event volunteer Silva Johansson was delighted to see the festival celebrate a solid debut.

“Like many people who have come to this area and made it their home, I’m really curious about finding out about other cultures and the other people that make up the communities on the West Coast,” she said.

“We’ve got such great diversity in this community, it’s great to see it come out. We all know it’s there but we don’t get an opportunity to share it and this is an opportunity to share it.”

Local dad Jonny Ferguson was thrilled with the event’s family-friendly vibe.

“It was fantastic,” he said.

“Hopefully we’ll see more of this in the coming years. I think it will get bigger and we’ll see more different people expressing themselves and where they came from; the more different food, clothing and variety we can experience the better.”

One of the food providers was Kasia Kromka, the owner of Ucluelet’s reigning business of the year Solidarity Snacks.

“We’ve had tons of people come through here, everybody’s really excited, we should do it again and make it bigger next year,” Kromka said.

Rivera assured the festival would return.

“I’ve heard a lot of people saying let’s do this bigger next year so I think that’s a good and positive sign,” she said.

 

andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca