The rainy weather on Canada Day did not hamper the spirit of CultureFest 2024.   

The event, which is put on by Regional Connections Immigrant Services, is an annual showcase that highlights the different cultures present in Winkler and surrounding areas. This year, CultureFest had to be moved indoors due to the rain, but it was successful, nonetheless.   

For Shepherd Chiwandire, the Volunteer Program Coordinator at Regional Connections, CultureFest is a time to bridge origins with new surroundings.   

“For myself, it's always good to feel like I can remember home, but also share a bit of home with our local community as well. I think everyone feels the same way. I'm sure if you go around and speak to people, they’re just excited to be sharing a piece of the heritage and history from back home as well.”  

At the centre of an impressive line-up of musical performances from around the world (featuring acts from Uganda, the Philippines, Nigeria, India, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to name a few), CultureFest also held a Citizenship recognition Certification Ceremony.   

The ceremony was in honour of new Canadians who received their citizenships this past year.  

Branden Leslie, MP for Portage-Lisgar, spoke at the celebration.   

“Obviously, there's always challenges that every country faces. But I think we have renewed optimism for the new Canadians that have come into this country, . . . and to really see communities like Winkler and . . . our region flourish with new cultures being explored and better understood [is great]. I just think it's so fantastic that we can coincide CultureFest with our Canadian day of birth.”   

The Citizenship recognition Certification Ceremony concluded with the new Canadian residents welcomed to the stage amidst warm applause and cheers, followed by more musical acts to celebrate CultureFest.

~With files from Abby Wall~