Fired up for festival

The many facets that make up the unique culture of the Kootenay region — in particular food, music, art, and heritage — were the inspiration for a new festival set to take place in Castlegar this weekend.

On Saturday, the inaugural Kootenay Festival will take place in an outdoor setting adjacent to the Columbia River, just downstream from its confluence with the Kootenay River.

Organizers plan to erect two stages along the east bank of the Columbia to showcase the range of musical talent that the region is known for.

The main stage will be flanked on one side by the Doukhobor Discovery Centre and on the other by the Village Bistro, serving traditional Doukhobor food and giving visitors the chance to experience the flavour of the region’s Russian heritage in more ways than one. A variety of outdoor food vendors will also bring dishes from the Kootenays’ Portuguese, Greek, Metis, Filipino and other diverse communities.

Invitations have been sent out to artists across the region, asking them to not only bring their works to the festival but also to come ready to share their techniques and tricks of the trade. The plan is to set up interactive displays and informal workshops where festival-goers can try their hands at various creative forms, with some professional guidance.

The festival will be a family event with activities geared towards people of all ages, including some nods to the younger crowd with things like a “Battle of the DJs” contest. Full details are available online at: www.kootenayfestival.com.

The inaugural event will be just one day, but organizers hope to eventually turn it into an annual celebration spanning a full weekend. With support from the community, we think that shouldn’t be a problem.

The Kootenay Festival runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday. We’ll certainly be there and we hope to see many of you there too. And be sure to look for coverage in next week’s Castlegar News.

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