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Vernon culture comes alive

The sweet aroma of maple syrup warning on a stack of buttery pancakes; the mesmerizing swirl of native dancers; the groovy notes of a home-grown soul band sliding through the air.

Vernon will come alive later this month, as RespectFEST takes over the town, showcasing some of the most exciting food, music, art and cultural performances the city has to offer.

The week of events, activities and performances will run from Sept. 18-24, lighting up venues across the city.

Generously funded by the Government of Canada, the festival is a “celebration of respect and diversity” that will open the beautiful, exciting and absurd cultures of the world up to the North Okanagan.

Opportunities to learn about, and interact with, people from cultures, races, religions and background from around the globe will abound—and everything is free.

The week of events will include blistering live performances from local musicians, art and history walks that will change the way you think about the city, as well as a host of environmental and educational opportunities.

However, the real party will take place Sept. 23, when Civic Plaza and Spirit Square will play host to a massive performance and party, bringing together a superstar collection of cultural performances.

Everyone from the likes of Autrey Bell, an award-winning native dancer originally from the Enderby Splatsin Reserve, to Vernon’s own soul project Chipko Jones will showcase their art.

They will be joined by Barefoot Caravan, who will offer a percussion workshop where participants will learn the root of hand drumming; Jessica Yue, from the City Contemporary Dance Company and Hong Kong Traditional Chinese Dancing University, who will share her craft of traditional Chinese fan dancing; and more.

The show will draw thousands of participants of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to the city. They will have a chance to celebrate the cultural diversity of the community, and have a blast doing it.

"The Downtown Vernon Association and RespectFEST partners are so excited to bring this unique festival to Vernon,” says RespectFest Coordinator Lauren Gilley. “We're fortunate to have such rich history and unique diversity in the North Okanagan, and September 23 will be a day to celebrate that."

To check out a complete schedule of RespectFEST events, or learn more about the festival, visit RespectFest online.

The North Okanagan RespectFEST is funded in part by the Government of Canada. Ce projet est financé en partie par le gouvernement du Canada.

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