Here is a short video taken early in the afternoon of May 28th, 2011. This is the first of what I hope will be many videos that will be uploaded to NiagaraWatch on YouTube.com.
Today was a very beautiful day in the Niagara Region. As mentioned in the previous post, I did attend Day One of the Niagara Folk Arts Festival in St. Catharines' Montebello Park. Montebello Park is a wonderful park with intelligent design carefully thought out and executed for the benefit of the public. What a wonderful park but I can't say the same for the Folk Arts Festival. The words incarceration, gaudy and controlling came to my mind after spending 15 minutes there. It wasn't the entertainment or the citizens that vexed me; it was the concept, design and execution that was most troubling to me. Lets start with the incarceration comment. Many of my readers know Montebello Park but did you know that it resembled a prison camp today? The event is totally gated, witness the entrance below, guard and all.
The Guarded Entrance Photo 1
The Guarded Entrance Photo 2
Did I mention controlling? Yes indeed, here we had a government sponsored event taking place on public parkland and the public was not permitted to carry in a bottle of water. It appears that the food vendors had a monopoly on food and drink and the organizers seem to think nothing of suspending the privacy rights of individuals by searching personal bags. Yes, I did mention controlling earlier.
Shame on the organizers of this shameful event and on the sponsors for not watching where the tax dollars were going. This event has effectively locked out families that are feeling financial hardship or God forbid, want to eat their own food that they prepared at home. I wonder if a nursing mother counts as outside food or drink? Some of the sponsors who could review their funding for this event include: Canada Heritage, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Government of Ontario and the City of St. Catharines. Taxpayer dollars could be much better spent by making this an inclusive event and not a gulag-like one.
I can't count the legal and quasi-judicial challenges that the Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre and the City of St. Catharines could face for their callous disregard for the Human Rights of the public.
Now on to gaudy.
Gaudy Photo 1
Gaudy Photo 2
Above are a few of the many photos taken today that demonstrate the gaudy and garish theme that the organizers seem to be encouraging via the permitted concessions. If the organizers from the Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre were trying to demonstrate that multiculturalism is garish, commercial and ugly - they succeeded.
Luckily the public and I know better than that. If you look at the photos of the public in attendance, you will find ordinary people talking and laughing and paying attention to the many fine performances on the stage.
Photos of the Joyful Public
I encourage people to attend this event for the community spirit, visit with friends and family and to support the performers. You will have a good time in spite of the glaring shortcomings of the organizers. If you have comments or would like to have a review of a feature here in the Niagara Region, please email me at NiagaraWatch at gmail dot com.