Members of the Shan-e-Punjab Dance Performing Arts and Heritage School are among those who will be on stage during the Folktoria Festival in Centennial Square next month. The festival promises a return to the cultural dance and food focus of the longstanding Folkfest, last held in Victoria in 2006. Facebook

Rebirth of downtown cultural festival coming to Victoria in July

Folktoria aims to pick up where Folkfest left off

For years, the name Folkfest was associated with a multitude of ethnic food options, great international entertainment and the joining together of various local communities in a spirit of love and acceptance at Centennial Square.

When the Inter-Cultural Association decided in 2006, after a stretch of 35 years, that running the festival no longer fit its mandate, a definite void was left in the community.

Sonia Grewal, who danced on stage at Folkfest with a Punjabi group in the 1980s and later founded the Shan-e-Punjab Performance Arts and Heritage School in Victoria, wants to offer residents and visitors a chance to revisit the roots of Folkfest with a new festival.

Folktoria, a free, one-day celebration set for Sunday, July 8, marks a return to the days when people could learn a little about other cultures and traditions being practised right here at home.

“This is bringing together all the cultures under one roof, in a way,” Grewal says.

“We’re trying to bring all the world together.”

Roughly 20 different groups will perform at the event, and the various ethnic community associations will have the familiar wagons and food trucks out to supply attendees with delicious offerings representative of their native countries.

It’s pretty much what Folkfest was for years, Grewal says.

“It’s going back to the simplicity of what it was originally,” she adds. “It’s a way of respecting the cultural groups but also honouring that time in Victoria’s past.”

The non-profit Greater Victoria Folk Festival Society was formed to administer the event, which will get underway at 11 a.m. and run to approximately 7:30 p.m. Updates on the groups attending and performing at the festival can be found on their Facebook page under @Folkathome.

Volunteers are also being requested. To find out more information, email folkfestivalinfo@gmail.com

editor@vicnews.com

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