Fond Kootenay Festival reflections

Castlegar's big event goes over well on its third go round

CDRD's Jim Crocket and Audrey Polovnikoff (standing

With the incomparable setting of this special part of the world, any sort of event held on the Ootischenia Plateau overlooking the Columbia and Kootenay Rivers has a running start toward success. Combine that with the energetic, cooperative involvement of so many artists, vendors, organizers, sponsors and volunteers, and it’s little wonder the third installment of the Kootenay Festival has gone off so well.

The annual event (driven heavily by the RDCK’s Castlegar and District Recreation Department) that gives such a colourful, upbeat focus to the appreciation of West Kootenay life was held on July’s final Saturday. Spokesperson Audrey Polovnikoff needed nothing more than a greeting before beginning to dispense superlatives relating to Castlegar’s premiere one-day wing-ding.

“What a fantastic event it was,” said the woman who had got in on the ground floor, helping get the party off and running back in 2011.

“Culture was celebrated through scrumptious food vendors, amazing talented artisans – from stained glass, unique jewelry, wood crafts, clothing, paintings, candles and much more,” said Polovnikoff.   “Entertainment cultures highlighted this year included – Punjabi folk dance by 12+ dancers, men, women and children, First Nations Teddy Anderson with a hoop dance performance, Filipino dancers, drummers, and of course the wealth of talented musicians, Meaning Seekers – Motes and Oates  and the Good ol’ Goats, just to name a few.  Leif Dave “magical entertainment” had the children enthralled and filled with laughter for his act sponsored by Kootenay Family Place.”

Crowning the festival’s jammed schedule was an excitingly positive audio-visual experience, not soon to be forgotten by those lucky enough to take it in. The attraction was called “Creative Blendz” and here’s how Polovnikoff describes it: “…a youth celebration through music and art, from funding through Columbia Basin Trust Youth Action grant. The youth project committee was Tristan Llewellyn who is working with us through the Job Creation partnership, Derek Monsen, Saad Waseem, Leeza Poznikoff, and John Kannigan.”

The project pays well-earned respect to the hard work, talent and imagination employed by the graffiti artist. Supported by a soundtrack supplied by DJ Saad Waseem, artists got to work on 4’x4′ canvases. Onlookers bought in, figuratively and literally as artist Travis Spender (pictured below, wearing cap) sold both his creations on the spot, the boy pictured with Travis bought one.

























The mark of overall perfection may not have been hit with Kootenay Festival 2013, but that leaves something to shoot for in future events starting with next years get-together.

This crew knows what its doing, carefully soliciting input from everyone involved, getting it compiled and ready for close study before the hard planning for the 2014 show gets underway.

Audrey Polovnikoff, before signing off, offered credit and gratitude to everyone with a hand in staging and enjoying another successful festival.

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