“I Heart Heritage Festival” benefits from United Way grant

United Way Central Plains Executive Director Pamela Lotun, left, gives Fort la Reine Museum Executive Director, Madison Connolly a Community Response Grant which will be used to offset costs for this weekend’s “I Heart Heritage Festival”. SUPPLIED

The United Way Central Plains has allotted the Fort La Reine Museum a Community Response Grant to help cover costs with this weekend’s “I Heart Heritage Festival.

The “I Heart Heritage Festival” is new and helps fill a cultural gap and is arguably the only multicultural festival now in Portage la Prairie.

Fort la Reine Museum Executive Director, Madison Connolly applied for the grant for its new community event, the “I Heart Heritage Festival.

The newly created I Heart Heritage Festival was made in partnership with the Portage Learning and Literacy Centre (one of United Way’s agency partner’s) to promote cultural diversity and histories through an immersive community celebration,” explains Fort la Reine Museum Executive Director, Madison Connolly. “The goal of the festival is to allow different cultural groups and performers the opportunity to educate visitors on their specific customs and cultural perspectives,” she said. “In doing so, we may encourage spectators to create meaningful connections with different cultural groups in order to establish a communal appreciation for our cultural differences and similarities, and limit prejudice in our region.

“While Portage la Prairie offers many community events, the “I Heart Heritage Festival” stands apart by being an inclusive cross-cultural and educational event. We are thrilled that this will provide a platform for our many Indigenous groups, new Canadians, Hutterian and international community groups to come together to express their own culture.

“United Way Central Plains believes in inclusion and equal opportunities for all,” United Way Central Plains Executive Director Pamela Lotun, said. “We are proud to provide funding for the entire cost of the stage and sound equipment rental for this important community event.”

The I Heart Heritage Festival will feature 15 different cultural pavilions throughout the museum grounds: Mexico, Dakota, Greece, Syria, Africa (Nigeria, Ethiopia, Morocco), India, Hutterian, Philippines, Ukrainian, Irish/Celtic, Belize, Nepal, Bangladesh, and more!

There will be a beer garden offering domestic and international beverages, food vendors, heritage activities, and a main stage for cultural performances throughout the afternoon and evening!

“We are excited to see the impact this event has on our community,” Lotun said.

The festival is Aug. 17 from 3 – 8 p.m. and will run rain or shine. Entry is by donation and you are encouraged to bring a lawn chair.

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