2022 Saskatoon Folks Fest returns Thursday by way of Saturday

Jeeyu Birch is looking forward to performing traditional Korean music with her mom and two children at this year’s edition of the Saskatoon Folk Fest.

“We don’t have a large Korean population here so we weren’t able to hold an event big like this, but this year we can be part of this and we’re very excited about it,” she said.

Birch, who opened up the SK Korean Language School in Saskatoon in 2020, says after the Korean government donated traditional instruments including gongs and drums, she flew to Korea to learn how to play them properly.

Birch and her family will be at Merlis Belsher Place Thursday through Saturday at the newly created International pavilion.

Executive director Terresa Strohan says the theme is “Culture Unites”.

“There’s something exciting, something unique, something special about people coming together and with such pride, being able to show what matters to them,” she said. “We tried to create a format where as many groups could join us as possible.”

“One of our new collaborative venues is bringing multiple cultures together, and I think that’s where the “Culture Unites” theme is, that we’re all coming together to once again share and celebrate culture in Saskatoon.”

Because of fewer volunteers coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s festivities will be scaled back. There will be 11 pavilions compared to 17 in 2019, the last time the event was held, with the popular Scottish and German pavilions not making an appearance.

The Folk Festival will also be moving away from paper passports.

“You can go to our website, www.saskatoonfolkfest.com, and purchase your E-passport,” said Strohan.

“You get unlimited admission to and from all the pavilions over the three days, access to the Folk Fest bus, but there’s just no physical paper passport to purchase.”

Despite fewer people taking part, the opportunity to showcase their culture was one Birch and her family couldn’t pass up.

“Friday we will do a little fashion show, wearing Korean traditional costumes and our models, they’re mostly young children, they will represent how to play Korean traditional games on the runway, so that will be very interesting to watch,” she said. 

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