Some things old, some things new, some things borrowed and some things to view via livestream - Culture Days is back, but in a significantly different way than previous years.
The number of events has decreased and those that will be held will be heavily altered due to COVID-19.
Planning for Culture Days is typically a mad rush for Flin Flon Arts Council cultural coordinator Crystal Kolt, one of the lead organizers for the events. This one is different - and possibly even a madder rush than normal.
“I’m frantically entering events as we speak - of course, this has happened at the last possible moment,” she said.
For now, there are 20 different events happening during this year’s Culture Days, spread out over late September and throughout October, instead of being confined to a handful of days. The celebration began Sept. 25 and will continue for the next month, wrapping up Oct. 25.
“It’s become interesting. Twenty events is not a hundred events, but I was really thinking ‘We could have a bit of a break this year’ and that’s fine, but people really, really love Culture Days and were wanting something,” said Kolt.
One of the biggest changes for this year’s Culture Days will be in the Human Books events at the Flin Flon Public Library. The event will still continue, but instead of a face-to-face interaction upstairs with wine and cheese like in previous years, the speaker will present in the meeting room downstairs at the library. All attendees will need to preregister.
Presenters this year will include writer and former Hudbay safety supervisor Brian Humphreys, Flin Flon Arts Council past-president Sheri Pearson, former police officer and Flin Flon city councillor Leslie Beck, Univ. of Saskatchewan professor and TEDx Talk participant Elizabeth Duret and Kolt herself.
Starting Oct. 1, the Human Books events will be held once a week.
Traditional Culture Days events will return, including the Wild Rice Cabaret, which will come back Oct. 17. The event will take place at the R.H Channing Auditorium in a similar way to the socially distanced Summer Concert Series shows, with people bringing their own chairs and masks and being asked to keep their distance. All health orders regarding indoor gatherings and maximum group sizes will be followed, Kolt said.
“It’s not going to be a crowd of 300 - it’s going to be 80 or a hundred people max. People will have to preregister for that - it’ll be free, but it will be online,” Kolt said.
Pictures at an Exhibition will be back Oct. 25, but will be held remotely. This year, galleries from across the province are invited to send in artwork, which will inspire improvised musical performances by Mark Kolt. The event will be streamed online via Zoom and Facebook.
“We’re going to be doing it, livestreamed from the Community Hall stage, but it’s not going to be open to the public, we don’t think,” Kolt said.
“The beautiful lighting, Mark’s instrument, the big screen… we’re inviting art galleries all across Manitoba to take part and make a submission.”
Performers will play a series of outdoor busking shows on Main Street Oct. 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7. The performers and exact locations for the shows will not be released until closer to showtime.
The traditional Dancing Down Main Street event will also see changes. There will still be a dance Oct. 18 at noon, but only for a select small number of local dance troupe members. The event will include some locations along Main Street where people can stand, socially distanced from each other and the dancers, to take part, along with another livestream of the event.
More events can be found by going to culturedays.ca and searching for events near Flin Flon.