North Shore festival was a celebration of diverse cultures

Thousands at vibrant festival

Thousands of people showed up to take part in the vibrant, lively Dearborn Ford Tapestry Festival, which was held at McDonald Park on Saturday.

Organizer Patti Phillips, marketing director of the North Shore Business Improvement Association, estimated about 6,000 people took part in the second annual event — 2,000 more attendees than last year.

Phillips said as Kamloops becomes increasingly multicultural, it’s important for the community to learn about other cultures and gain a better understanding of one another.

“The most important thing for me is that you come and you have an experience,” she said.

“You experience different cultures, of food, of art, of all of the musicians, the performers. There's just so many things going on. And so many different cultures that you can go and learn from. And that's a really big part to me.”

Phillips said there were about 45 different countries were represented in the festival pavilions and on-stage performers representing 12 countries. Most of Saturday’s performers are locally based.

The event included performances from Reggae band Out of Many, Taiko drummers, Simya Ukrainian Dancers and singer David Leonardo Cazares. Vendors sold Filipino snacks, Indian food, clothing and jewellery under colourful banners and flags.

A large community canvas was set up in the art pavilion, where event goers could add their own colours and designs, along with a book which provided space for people to write down their stories or draw pictures.

Carly Schmidt, coordinator for the festival, said these two pieces will be showcased at Kamloops Art Party and at future tapestry events.

“It’ll be really cool to see how that turns out,” Schmidt said.

“I want to have the communal painting and the book for sharing stories, because that's something tangible that you can take from all this.”

She said it was rewarding to showcase finished works of art, and also have some artists — including painter Marianna Abutalipova —create pieces live.

Schmidt said the festival is the most unique event of the year.

"It is nice to see so many people say, ‘This is what we want to share from us, with you,’” she said. “It's very personal, even though it's a giant event.”

Phillips said she intends to bring the festival back as an annual tradition.

“This event means more to me than any other event that I put on. Just to see so many people happy and dancing and just enjoying life — It's just so important.”

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