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Eight fantastic Folklorama pavilions you won't want to miss - Photo Courtesy of the Tamil Pavilion

Photo Courtesy of the Tamil Pavilion

By: Abi KarthigesuAugust 10, 2018 //

It’s that time of year- where we get down with the Folklorama Llama, stuff ourselves with fresh flavors of the world, and enjoy extraordinary performances.

All 44 pavilions of this year’s festival have something unique to offer, and while we suggest you take the Folklorama challenge of seeing them all (yes, it can be done!) we understand that it might be a bit difficult to achieve.

To help you plan your Folklorama itinerary, here are eight pavilions to watch out for this festival season.

WEEK ONE

Japanese Pavilion
The culture at the Japanese pavilion shines through every act during their shows. The dances, drumming, and martial arts performances will have you on the edge of your seat (especially while watching the martial artists jump over several people). The costumes and cultural outfits feature intricate designs that sparkle on stage. Their menu includes a diverse range of items that will satisfy any craving—especially their shaved ice.

Chilean Pavilion

This pavilion showcases authentic Chilean practices and dances. Watch the feathered-costumed dancers move across the stage with vivid expressions and rhythmic steps. View the grand Moai statue replicas, where the pavilion has even set up a selfie station! Savour the Chilean flavors and try their chacarero sandwich or some tasty empanadas. To quench your thirst, you can sip on their signature wine drink with strawberries.

Greek Pavilion

You know that line in My Big Fat Greek Wedding (a film created by Winnipegger Nia Vardalos): “There are two types of people—Greeks, and people who wish they were Greek”? It’s not wrong. After catching a show at the Greek pavilion and shouting “OPA!” a few times, you’ll definitely leave feeling like an honourary Greek. Watch the dancers reach new heights (literally, it seems) as they do impressive leaps  while staying linked to other dancers. Taste the flaky goodness of the classic Grecian dish spanakopita, and end your stay on a sweet note with a piece of baklava.

Mexican Pavilion

The Mexican Pavilion seems to top themselves every year, and next year will be a challenge as they have gone all-out for their programming this year. The pavilion has flown in 28 dancers and musicians from Mexico to deliver engaging, entertaining shows that will impress all audiences. Watch the dancers perform various styles of Mexican dances as the band charms you with their talent. The performers are always great at incorporating humour in their shows as well. Try out some authentic  Mexican dishes, and wash it down with tequila. Visit the extensive cultural display and craft market, and snap a photo with the giant Mexico sign near the entrance!

WEEK 2

Tamil Pavilion

While most pavilions are named after a geographic region or country, the Tamil pavilion is based on a language and the culture behind it. A very small community of Winnipeg’s Tamil families operate the pavilion, with volunteers young and old all doing their part to make it a smooth-running machine. The performers put on an incredible show filled with rhythmic music, vibrant costumes, and intricate dance steps. There’s also a fun sari (traditional dress of Tamil women) demonstration in the middle of the show, where a lucky audience member gets to model on stage. Friendly volunteers in the cultural display are more than happy to share Tamil history and literature, and help with interactive activities. Before you leave you have to try out their rolls, a dish with a vegetable or meat based filling cased in crispy fried breadcrumbs.

Spirit of Ukraine Pavilion

If you need any reason to see this pavilion besides filling up on perogis, there’s quite a few. The show is captivating and flies by—much like the dancers as they are lifted in the air. Watch the amazing dancers from the Zoloto Ukranian Dance Ensemble as they twirl, jump, and flawlessly execute tough choreography. Their guest musicians are always great storytellers, and you can easily sing along. The pavilion also has a great selection of delicious drinks including beer, wine, and vodka. Before you leave, you can learn about Ukrainian heritage in their cultural display and kids can hang out in the activity zone.

Ethiopian Pavilion

This pavilion will definitely make your heart smile. Seriously—the pavilion volunteers and performers make you feel like family. Get mesmerized (and also wonder “HOW?!”) as the dancers use incredible moves that involve isolating their bodies and only moving their necks. Dive into some incredible strew-like dishes with a piece of injera (a spongy form of flatbread) and sip on Ethiopian coffee that’s brewed just in front of you!

Caribbean Pavilion

This pavilion is always so much fun, and makes an effort to get the audience involved! As you enter, you’ll be greeted with the sound of steel pan drums, and smell the rich spices of their tasty dishes. The pavilion features lively performances from all regions of the Caribbean, highlighting its history. The show always ends on a bang as their fire limbo dancers perform incredible tricks (but only if the crowd cheers for them loud enough). As you leave, you can walk through the cultural display and market to learn more about the wonderful traditions and practices of the Caribbean.

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