Elly on the Arts: Falling into fall – and Culture Days

My, how time flies when you’re having fun! Summer is almost over, kids will head back to school next week and the new arts and culture season is getting underway. Many of you will already know this, but Flin Flon’s fearless culture leader Crystal Kolt embarked on a fantastic voyage of discovery during the summer.

She flew to France at the beginning of July and is still, as of this writing, walking through Spain on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela - a 1,600 kilometre pilgrimage to the burial place of St. James. The walk begins in southern France and crosses the Pyrenees into Spain, ending in Galicia. Pilgrims have been traversing the route since the ninth century. Crystal will have many stories to tell upon her return, so be sure to ask for them.

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The next major Flin Flon area extravaganza is at the end of September and revolves around Culture Days.

After 10 years, we are all very familiar with the Culture Days phenomenon and everything it gives to our town and we are sure that most of the popular events will be back to entertain us.

The national Culture Days organizers have announced some changes in their philosophy going forward and will place less emphasis on the number of events any community offers.

They have also introduced a policy change that will enable a “pay what you may” option to Culture Days events, instead of the free admission folks are accustomed to. I don’t know what that may mean for Flin Flon, but you can be sure it will all be fun.

The NorVA Centre has announced the annual Square Foot Exhibition and auction which will run throughout Culture Days and culminate with the auction October 20. This yearly fundraiser has proved very popular and always offers a very entertaining final event usually performed by Raphael “Handsome” Saray and usually to a packed house of art lovers. The registration deadline is September 22 and the gallery will be open for viewings during Culture Days and beyond. Please feel welcome to come and see what your friends and neighbours have created.

Your intrepid columnist (me!) has roamed far and wide to bring you news of arts and culture on this occasion. We were in Owen Sound, Ont. for their annual music festival, Summerfolk. It was lovely and bears significant comparison to our own Blueberry Jam. It is a much older event, having operated for 44 years. There is an entrance fee, but it is not the behemoth that the Winnipeg Folk Festival has become. The organizers have clearly spent time analysing their event and have refined it beautifully.

They began in a park with a big tent for a main stage and two smaller tents for workshop stages, but over the years, they have built an amphitheatre on the hillside with a permanent stage cover and have moved the workshop stages to the beer garden (which is huge), the wine bar (not joking - an actual wine bar with local craft winery Coffin Ridge products) and “Down by the Bay” acoustic stage overlooking Georgian Bay, Lake Huron. They also had a gigantic kids area with several performers scheduled, a massive craft village and many, many food options.

Blueberry Jam was a tremendous success and literally thousands of audience members had a wonderful time. It is only two years old, so it has lots of time to grow and develop, but Summerfolk is a good model to follow for a mellow, good time.

This column will lay out the Home Routes schedule for the fall and winter next time.

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