Elly on the Arts: Recapping an abbreviated Trout Festival

Wasn’t the Flin Flon Trout Festival Canada Day parade a thing of wonder? Even though the rain threatened and the wind blew, folks came out in their small, socially distanced groups and cheered the brave souls who decorated floats and waved their arms off. The Hapnot 2020 graduates and the tireless healthcare workers and first responders were honoured in grand style.

The parade followed its usual route from Green Street by the park to Main Street by the Flin Flon Credit Union with people lining the streets all along the way. The Flin Flon Trout Festival committee (who were a teeny bit worried) were heartily gratified by the response. This year's Trout Festival was, like everything else arts and culture related, completely compromised by COVID-19 - and it was the 70th anniversary. A small but mighty group of dedicated volunteers met back in February to begin to plan and by early March had some pretty awesome ideas, then…

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But because Manitoba, and particularly the north, was so diligent with social distancing and following public health rules and recommendations, they were able to provide the fishing derby, live, socially distanced musical entertainment (in partnership with the Arts Council) and a crackerjack Parade. Jayden Oulette and Maddox Dominey caught the biggest walleye in the adult and youth categories at 31½ and 30 inches respectively. Tim Smith and Kleen-All sponsored the youth fishing derby. Pharmasave, McKeen’s Trucking, Ham Sandwich Theatre troupe, NorVA Centre and Northern Community Services took the prizes for best floats, with all prizes from Northland Ford.

Many businesses around town stepped up in support of the modified Trout Festival - 30 in all (so too many to name individually in a column, but go to the Trout Festival website to see the list) in a year when, as we know, business has not been good. They can feel proud of what they give to our little community, their support and their financial contributions are what keep us motivated.

That was culture and we are proud to say giving is a major component. Now, on to art. The Arts Council Music Series had enough support and goodwill to continue, so stay tuned for their next show on the Festival Stage at the Flin Flon Campground. The other musical event the Arts Council are bringing into the summer is Street Corner Concerts. The first one will be on July 11 from 1-4 p.m. No lineup has been announced, but they promise 20 minute sets with local musicians that will rotate around various sites so you can just sit in one socially distanced spot and see them all. Check on the Arts Council Facebook page for more information.

The NorVA Centre and Gallery has an exciting new project in the works too. Gallery manager Mike Spencer has three young artists in a mentorship program and they have a dream to create a mural (or maybe two) in Flin Flon. They are in the process of raising the necessary funding and establishing potential locations. They are necessarily hustling with this project, as they really only have until Sept. 1 to complete it, with weather being a major factor to consider. We wish them all the luck in the world. The mural the Flin Flon Aboriginal Friendship Centre co-created on the Jack Freedman Bridge uptown is beautiful, but not seen often enough. The world needs more public art.

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