Tapestrama moving online for 2020

Live-streamed performances to be combined with outdoor foodtrucks for pandemic-friendly celebration

The Kumintang Folk Ensemble performs a traditional dance from the Philippines with fans and bamboo at Tapestrama on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

An annual celebration of Saskatchewan’s diverse cultural background is headed online this year.

The annual Tapestrama Cultural Festival, usually held at Plaza 88, will be moving to a virtual Facebook stream due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The free virtual event will be live-streamed via the Prince Albert Multicultural Council Facebook page from noon until 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 26 and 27.

“We hope that you and your families are staying healthy and safe during this unique time,” the multicultural council said in an announcement posted to Facebook Friday.

TAPESTRAMA Cultural Festival goes Virtual this year on September 26 & 27, 2020… live streamed here on PAMC Facebook…

Posted by Tapestrama on Friday, August 14, 2020

“Unfortunately, restrictions on large, public gatherings in this province are still in place. It is certainly especially significant in controlling the spread of this pandemic, and the safety of our guests, volunteers, artists and staff is highly important.”

Michelle Hassler, the multicultural council’s executive director, said this year’s festival will continue to be what it’s always about — celebrating the many different people from many different cultures who call Saskatchewan home.

“For us, it’s really important to be able to offer this to the community,” Hassler said.

“It’s our annual cultural festival, and it’s nice to still be able to gather together, despite the pandemic, to celebrate all the different cultures that comprise our community. COVID-19 should not be stopping us from doing something for the community. If there are new ways we need to do it we will do it.”

Hassler said confirmed acts include Métis, Russian and Filipino dance groups, bands and others, coming from the region, but also from Saskatoon and Regina.

“With the performers, as well as the dance troupes, they will be talking about their culture and showing their traditional dances or traditional dance,” she said.

“That’s one good thing — learning about the different cultures in our province.”

Another big piece of Tapestrama has always been food. The multicultural council has a plan for that as well.

“The hugest part of Tapestrama is getting to taste the different food from different countries without leaving Prince Albert. It’s not the same if there’s no food during Tapestrama,” Hassler said.

That’s why multicultural food trucks will be set up in the Multicultural Council’s parking lot. That will also allow for a mix of virtual and in-person celebrations.

This will be the second virtual celebration the multicultural council puts on. They previously held a virtual Canada Day this year.

“That was a really good experience and we can say it was a success. That’s why we’re confident we can make it happen with Tapestrama,” Hassler said.

“In addition, as a way of us saying thank you back, we’re giving cash prizes to our viewers on both days.”

The cash prizes will be given away during the virtual celebration based on a trivia contest. More details about the festival will be posted on Facebook as the event draws nearer.

“(The multicultural council) strongly encourages the PA community and its surrounding towns and residents to support our virtual cultural celebration,” the online announcement reads.

“We understand that this is certainly not the same as the regular event, but still allows celebrating and interacting together safely in our own respective homes.”

Tapestrama will be held in partnership with Culture Days. Hassler is excited to bring this different-look festival to the community. She said the event will be a good mix of the First Nations, Métis, and international cultures that call Saskatchewan home.

“It’s a mix of cultural music and dances,” she said. “We’re so excited.”