Thousands of spectators lined the streets of Steinbach on August 3 as the city celebrated the 50th Anniversary of its Pioneer Days. The annual event which commemorates the community’s roots and rich heritage kicked off with a parade of over a hundred colorful vehicles and floats that travelled down the Main Street. As in previous years, the Southeast Manitoba Filipino Association or SEMFA is among the participants, proudly representing the estimated 1,100-strong Filipino newcomers community in the area.
To add Filipino cultural significance of the occasion, SEMFA made arrangements with the Winnipeg-based Vickar Automotive Group to bring the iconic “Jeep Ni Vickar” to Steinbach as an added attraction at the parade. The festively-designed jeepney made its Steinbach debut accompanied by a delegation headed by Larry and Tova Vickar. The Philippines’ ‘King of the Road’ easily captured the attention and fascination of parade-goers, as the SEMFA officers teamed up with Vickar staff handing out candy, frisbees and ball caps along Main street.
After the parade, SEMFA feted the Vickar delegation with a luncheon at the nearby Steinbach Arts Council (SAC) building. People took photos with the “Jeep Ni Vickar” as a memorable souvenir.
Inside one of the SAC function rooms, the group savoured the lunch of pork barbecue, pancit, menudo and rice. The Vickar couple also got to enjoy a guided tour given by SAC board member Peegy Ontong. To cap off the morning’s proceedings, Larry and Tova Vickar were presented with a plaque of appreciation for their support of the area’s Filipino newcomer community and their historic collaboration with SEMFA on the golden anniversary of Steinbach’s Pioneer Days.