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Vermilion Culture Fest this weekend

Organizers are in the final phases of preparation for this weekend’s Vermilion Culture Fest being held at the Vermilion Curling Rink.

The annual multicultural event comes as Alberta is observing Culture Days this month.

Brad Gallamore dishes that the entertainment and cuisine will span the culture of the region including, Africa, China, First Nations, India, Scotland, Mexico, The Philippines, and Ukraine.

Also on the card for Saturday says Gallamore is Indigenous Rap with Lloydminster-based 24-7 Dreamin’ and back from his performances in the U.A.E is vocal talent Rafi Jag.

“Within three-years he’s going to be way too famous to come to our event. We are doing a bit of an extra promotion just for him, and not just to get us attention, but to help him, because there is no doubt in our minds that he will be on your radio within three-years.”

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The entertainers’ list includes The Mariachi Project Canada, Chinese dancers, Indigenous dancer Randi Lynn Nanemahoo-Candline,  traditional dancers from India and Scottish Highland dancers. On Sunday there will be numerous Indigenous performers including drummers and singers from Onion Lake along with award winning Chicken dancer CJ Thunderspirit and Shania Morin award winning women’s fancy and Jingle Dress dancer.

Event planner Tigra-Lee Campbell says they will also have a KAIROS blanket exercise beginning at 3 p.m. on Sunday. She says a blanket exercise explores the nation-nation relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada.

“So basically when we start we have a bunch of blankets laid out and there is a train track that’s laid out and it’s supposed to represent Turtle Island (North America). As we go through the history, we start at pre-colonization and then we touch on first-contact and what that looked like and the hardships that were brought with that.”

Campbell says the blankets are slowly taken away to symbolize the effects of disease and Residential Schools as the “first peoples of Turtle Island are slowly removed” and the land re-shaped to what exists today.

The blanket exercise will be led by Kevin John and Debbie Semeniuk, whom Campbell describes as being “awesome facilitators” in the manner that they conduct the emotion-filled exercise. They will also connect participants to resources for ongoing support. The blanket exercise requires online registration to participate.

The weekend multicultural showpiece will also host several vendors on both days, including air brush tattoos, Indigenous vendors, as well as Hero’s Food Truck will be onsite.

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