By Krispin Ontong
Steinbach’s Summer In The City kicked off to gorgeous weather on Friday, June 16. The three-day celebration featured carnival rides, children’s activities, sporting demos and many other attractions that lined the length of Main Street.
Cultures in the City is the festival’s component that showcases the cuisine of the diverse ethnicities that call Steinbach home. Festival-goers crowded the west end of Main Street to explore an array of food options from countries like Bolivia, China, Germany, Ghana, Jamaica, Korea, Paraguay, the Philippines and Vietnam. The food booth of the South Eastman Filipino Association (SEMFA) has been a constant presence since the annual event began in 2009. Their combo meal of a serving of rice with two sticks of pork barbecue skewers hot off the grill and a choice of pop or water has been a consistent crowd-pleaser. Two other vendors offered Filipino fare this year. The local Filipino-owned bakery served favorites like lumpia, chicken inasal, siomai and sisig. Just two booths away from SEMFA’s spot, the local Asian Grocery, also Filipino-owned, served pancit, fish balls and ice-cold gulaman. SEMFA President Rommel Clamor welcomed the new kababayan food vendors and did not consider them as competitors, saying that “more choices make it a more exciting dining experience for customers.”
As people enjoyed their meals on picnic benches, the Cultures Stage provided multicultural entertainment. Among the performers were traditional Ukrainian Dancers, Metis Dancers, Jamaican Reggae musicians and the Fijian dancers of Island Breeze Manitoba. A troupe representing SEMFA dazzled the audience with a presentation entitled ‘Tindak (Tinig at Indak) Maharlika’ — a medley of regional dances while garbed in colourful native costume. There was also a short ceremony celebrating new citizens which included this writer and his spouse. Local officials such as Steinbach Deputy Mayor Michael Zwaagstra, Steinbach MLA and Government House Leader Kelvin Goertzen, and Citizenship and Immigration Judge Suzanne Carriere were in attendance to welcome and bring greetings to the new Canadians.
Photos by Krispin Ontong