An event that celebrated the growing diversity of the Energy City will be missing from this year’s schedule.
The Collage Multicultural Festival is looking for a new group of organizers after two successful years dedicated to the many cultures that now make up Estevan and the southeast. Previously run by the Chamber of Commerce, the festival was deemed too far outside the chamber’s mandate in order for them to continue to organize it. That doesn’t mean the chamber’s executive director Michel Cyrenne doesn’t want to see the festival return under new management.
“The Chamber of Commerce feels it’s a very good event for the community and especially in light of the fact that we’ve got a growing immigrant population in the community,” said Cyrenne. “It’s definitely an event that we do want to see continue.”
At the same time, he said they felt it was something that didn’t really fit into what the chamber is supposed to be doing.
The organization is one that is primarily focused on business activities and acting as a voice for the business community. They work with the City of Estevan and RM of Estevan in terms of investment attractions and tourism development, but they don’t typically handle cultural activities.
“All of those factors are all really related and intertwined with business,” he said.
“We do understand that the reason this immigrant population is becoming more predominant in Estevan because of the growing business community, but this is an event that is definitely cultural in nature rather than business-oriented in nature.”
Cyrenne noted that even though they will not be the sole organizer anymore, because of the role businesses play in bringing more immigrant workers to the city, they would like to have continued involvement in the festivities.
“We’d like to partner on the event, just in terms of being able to promote it to the local business community,” added Cyrenne. “We do feel there is somewhat of a distant tie to the business community. The business community is the one bringing the people in. We definitely would like to be involved and provide assistance in any way we can.”
Cyrenne said that both years the event was held, it generated a profit.
He noted there are some time sensitive aspects to organizing the event, and if somebody were interested in preparing the festival for next year, the time to act is now.
“If it were to be done in 2013, you definitely need to start looking at it now,” he said. “There is some urgency because there are grants that need to be put in place, and those grants are typically put in place the early part of the fall.”
He said they have all the material and information from the first two events, and they would be happy to hand it all over if there is another group who wants to take it on.
“We’ve got a manual that is a step-by-step guide on how to put Collage on, so that’s in place already. We would, without any question, give that to whoever was looking after the revived event, if that were the case,” said Cyrenne.
There certainly may still be a desire for Collage in Estevan, as he said they received a positive response for the first two festivals.
“The first time Collage was put on I think people were surprised, more than anything. They were impressed by what was able to happen in our small community in a quick amount of time. Just the scale of the event was quite impressive, and the learning experience … the experience to learn how many different cultures there are in our community and how large of a group of people it really is. It’s a lot more than people might realize, and it’s amazing how many different countries and cultures we have present here in Estevan.”