Filipinos bringing fiesta to Calgary

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Fiesta Filipino will be held September 5 at Canada Olympic Plaza.
Fiesta Filipino will be held September 5 at Canada Olympic Plaza.
Fiesta Filipino will be held September 5 at Canada Olympic Plaza.
Dr. Christine P. Oriel

This fall, a new festival will be launched in Calgary to celebrate Filipino culture. The festival, called ‘Fiesta Filipino,’ will bring vendors, musicians and dancers together to feature the culture of the Filipino community in Calgary.

Fiesta Filipino will be held at Canada Olympic Plaza on September 5 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The festival program will feature traditional Filipino dances and music from various regions in the Philippines. Local Filipinos will also perform dance and music from other genres.

Filipino food and drink prepared by local businesses and individual vendors will be served at the event alongside the entertainment program. Visitors will be able to sample local specialties across the Philippines.

Filipino crafts and merchandise will be sold from Filipino-owned local business owners.

The Philippines comprises a large amount of cultural subsets and regional identities while also having a large and globalized diaspora. Fiesta Filipino organizers hope to bring together these elements of Filipino culture and bring awareness to the fact that Filipino culture is very diverse and multi-faceted.

“I believe this festival will be a good way to bring Filipino people together without focusing on one region or religion of the Philippines,” says Robert Sison, the head of the Fiesta Filipino vendor committee.

“We want to encompass the whole community and help people share and appreciate their Filipino heritage.”

Filipinos constitute a large percentage of the visible minorities in Calgary, but there is yet to be a large-scale festival specifically featuring Filipino culture within the city. Fiesta Filipino hopes to fill this gap, especially among other cultural celebrations such as the Chinatown Street Festival or Expo Latino. Filipino culture has been displayed as parts of other local celebrations, such as GlobalFest. Fiesta Filipino hopes to spread awareness and appreciation of the contributions of the Filipino community in creating Canada’s multicultural identity.

“Depending on the success of this year’s Fiesta Filipino, the hope is that it becomes an annual two-day event which draws not only Filipinos, but all Calgarians,” says Sison.

As the Filipino community grows in Canada, other major Canadian cities such as Winnipeg, Vancouver and Toronto have also held Filipino cultural festivals in the past decade.

Fiesta Filipino is currently still in its planning stages as vendors, artists and sponsors are contacted.