Festival Madness - First Round

by • March 17, 2016 • Fun & Games, Lively GatheringsComments (15)16222

Festival Madness – First round

You know them, you love them, you sometimes wonder how in the world are you going to find time to fit them all in. And now you can vote for them. Welcome to Festival Madness! Where 32 of Manitoba’s unique festivals party it out to be named “Fave Fest.” Over the next week, vote and tell us which ones are near and dear to your heart. The competitors have been placed into four brackets:

  • The CULTURE-RIFIC! grouping is home to grand events that showcase Manitoba’s immersive culture. It’s where you will see Voyageurs voraciously trying to paddle past a few Pioneers who are tossing hay all over the place. Or catch a glimpse of Gimli’s Vikings throwing axes at those fur-clad Trappers from the Pas, who are just going to toss those axes right back at ’em! Amirite? (That’s a testosterone-fueled fight we really don’t want to witness…or do we?)
  • Then we have the MUSIC-LICIOUS! players. This is where the chill community vibes of Harvest Sun take on the “I wanna rock ‘n’ roll all night and party every day” bangers of Minnedosa. You’ll also find that behemoth Countryfest line dancing on over to St. Malo to release that Rainbow Trout back into the Rosseau River! Music never sounded so vicious.
  • Then you move on to the FAIR-TASTIC! group. These are those fun fairs that show off our sweet charms and hospitality. We’ve got horses and york boats. We’ve got miners, threshermen and cowpokes. We’ve got food and flowers. There’s even a big ol’ pumpkin!
  • Last, but not least, we have a WACKY-ISH! bunch. Here you’ll find a frog trying to leap over a meteor (good luck), while some knight in shining armour tries to swat off a diving raptor. My personal favourite pairing has got to be the fictional lake monster trying to throw shade at a stick horse. Yes, there’s a stick horse rodeo. Who knew that was even a thing?

So tighten your ceinture fléchée and get ready to party…VOTING STARTS NOW…

Festival Madness - First Round


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Folklorama vs. Manitoba Highland Gathering (Selkirk)

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Icelandic Festival (Gimli) vs. Trappers' Festival (The Pas)

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Manito Ahbee (Winnipeg) vs. Canada's National Ukrainian Festival (Dauphin)

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Festival du Voyageur vs. Pioneer Days (Steinbach)


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32 - Folk Festival vs Fire & Water

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Rockin' the Fields of Minnedosa vs. Harvest Sun Music Fest (Kelwood)

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Aboriginal Music Week (Winnipeg) vs. Winnipeg International Jazz Festival

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Dauphin's Countryfest vs. Rainbow Trout Music Festival (St. Malo)


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Royal Manitoba Winter Fair (Brandon) vs. Roland Pumpkin Fair

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Threshermen’s Reunion (Austin) vs. Treaty & York Boat Days (Norway House)

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Morden Corn & Apple Festival vs. Manitoba Sunflower Festival (Altona)

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Manitoba Stampede (Morris) vs. Nickel Days (Thompson)


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Winnipeg Fringe Festival vs. Honey, Garlic & Maple Syrup Festival (Manitou)

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St-Pierre-Jolys Frog Follies vs. West Hawk Lake Meteor Fest

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Medieval Festival (Cooks Creek) vs. La Rivière Raptor Festival

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St. Laurent's Festival Manipogo vs. Cromer Stick Horse Rodeo

Come back to the blog on Monday (March 21) to see the results of the FIRST ROUND and start voting on the SWEET SIXTEEN.

Unfortunately, not all of our festivals made the list as we have way too many great ones! If we missed your favourite, please tell us which one it is and why you think it’s the best in the comments. The more stories you share with us about your love for Manitoba’s festivals, the better. Because there’s no such thing as a bad festival! (Well, except maybe this one.) 

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15 Responses to Festival Madness – First round

  1. Robbie says:

    Islendingadagurinn – Icelandic Festival of Manitoba celebrates 127 years this Summer!
    Starting out in the parks of Winnipeg we moved along the western shores of Lake Winnipeg and now call Gimli home. Over four days the festival welcomes over 50,000 guests to a warm family friendly festival. You can take in the Viking Village that hosts on average 100 Vikings camped out on the hill over the week, living, cooking, creating and battling! Almost ALL of the events are Free, from the entertainment in the harbour and the MainStage in the park, the Viking Village is free and Getting “dinged” or “Dunked” is also free!
    You can visit the Cultural Pavilion, Amma’s Kitchen, visit the Art Show, wander the Craft/vendor village or take in one of Manitoba’s only Blue Flag Beaches! Award winning Arch Angel Fireworks join us on the Saturday evening for a stunning display and if your lucky enough to have friends with a boat – take the opportunity to watch the show from the lake looking back on the lights of Gimli, it truly is magical.
    Come, join us this year. You will see the work started on the Viking Park, a legacy project from the festival to the community that hosts us. Become a honorary Icelander and become part of the largest Icelandic community outside of Iceland in the World!

  2. Morgan Coates says:

    No Interstellar Rodeo? 🙁

  3. Edith Le Sann says:

    Trappers’ Festival in The Pas is the oldest winter festival in Western Canada! It’s centered around the World Championship Dog Race and several other dogsled races that take place over a 3-day period in February. This year we saw teams from all over North America and even some mushers from Europe too. It was one of the largest fields to date, with 27 teams racing each other in a mass start. At 8-10 dogs per team that’s over 200 dogs howling at the starting line and jumping in their traces, eager to run! If you have never witnessed an event like this you should plan to attend Trappers’ next year — it will be well worth the trip!

    Besides dog races, we have King and Queen Trapper–and Junior King and Queen Trapper–competitions. Men and women compete in speed-based events including: snowshoe race, trap setting, ice hole chop, pole climbing, log sawing and more; and strength-based events including: flour packing, log throw and leg wrestling among others. Events take place mostly outdoors and they are a true spectator sport — there are no fences to keep the crowds away from the action, you can get right up close to the action and cheer on your favourite. You can even sample the fresh bannock cooked over a fire as part of the bannock-baking competition, or the smoked delights judged and graded in the smoked meat and fish competition.

    You don’t have to be in competition for King or Queen Trapper to enter the logging events, where you can show off your skill with a chainsaw in the speed-cutting and chainsaw carving contests. Carvers often sell their carvings following the contest, so as a spectator you have the chance to take home a truly remarkable souvenir of your time in The Pas.

    Then there’s the Fur Queen competition, which features a fashion show, pageant and other occasions to meet the young ladies vying for the coveted spot of ambassador for Trappers Festival and The Pas region. The crowning of the Queen is one of the many highlights of the Festival.

    After a hearty pancake breakfast (choose from one of several taking place around town) you might decide to go for a dogsled ride of your own, or a bombardier or helicopter ride. Or grab some friends and sign up for the annual Street Hockey tournament.

    For lunch you will have a hard time deciding whether to visit the Trappers’ Canteen at the Legion for hot chili and a bun, or pop into the tea and coffee house at the Anglican Church near the heart of the action for locally-famous homemade soup, sandwiches and pies. There’s also the equally-famous Ukrainian perogy-and-smokie lunch on the other side of town; or head over to neighbouring Opaskwayak Cree Nation for traditional fare such as moosemeat stew and bannock. Make sure to stop in at various Festival venues in between events, including the not-to-be-missed Arts and Crafts Show and Bake Sale, where you can purchase delicious baked goods and preserves, handmade quilts, wooden toys, beaded mukluks, fur hats, wool mittens, silk scarves and jewellery.

    Trappers’ Festival is capped by a large social called “Beerfest”, held on the Sunday during the daytime. Beerfest involves adults young and old celebrating the good times and camaraderie of Festival. There’s music, and zany contests such as “Most colourful beard”, “Hairiest legs” (for men and women), “World Champion moustache”, “World Champion beer belly”, “Shiniest Pate” and “Best Trappers Buns” (male and female).

    Throughout the 5-day Festival there are many, many opportunities for entertainment, wholesome family outings and thrilling spectator events. What makes Trappers’ Festival so great is that the whole community gets involved; all of the planning, organizing and legwork is done by volunteers. The bulk of the prize money and other funds are raised locally throughout the year. Our schools hold mini-events for their students during the week and shut down on the Friday so everyone can enjoy Festival. People are so friendly and welcoming. It’s what’s kept this amazing tradition going for the past 69 years.

    • Darby says:

      Great write-up!

    • perry says:

      Trappers festival will be celebrating 70 years next year! The world championship dog race originated as The Pas dog derby in 1916! 1917 and 1918 were suspended due to the war, it ran until 1931. It was revived in 1948 as part of the festival. Nice article Edith!

    • Lorrie says:

      Although words cannot define the experience in person you did a great job Edith letting everyone know what they are missing out on.

  4. […] you love us, let us know! Prove your love by going to the voting page here and vote once a day until March 21st. All other rounds you can vote once per […]

  5. Connie says:

    Every festival has their own uniqueness and I would love to see them all but my very favourite is the Icelandic Festval held in Gimli. It recently celebrated it’ s 100 years anniversary. What a great Festval to bring families and friends together every year. The entertainment and special programs are enjoyed by all and you do no have to be Icelandic!! Go Icelandingadagurinn!!

  6. Cheryl says:

    Morden Corn & Apple Festival, celebrating 50 years. All the way!

  7. Donna says:

    I’d vote for interstellar rodeo – it’s new, at the forks, great bands, and you can sip wine everywhere on site!

  8. Cloella Jacobs says:

    Really would have liked to see, “Asham Stompers Festival “at Reedy Creek on here.

  9. Jonas says:

    I would have loved to see the Harvest moon festival in Clearwater Manitoba.

    One of the best little towns in Manitoba that hosts a wonderful festival full of workshops, music and much more!

    • Kirsten says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Jonas! Harvest Moon is such a wonderful festival. Narrowing the list down to 32 was not easy. So many great festivals in this province. 🙂

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