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Assembly festival to welcome host community of Winkler


May 31, 2004
- by Dan Dyck


Festival in the park planners are gearing up for an intergenerational faith celebration day at this summer’s Mennonite Church Canada assembly in Winkler, Man. Face painting, interactive games and contests, and an international fashion show are just some of the activities being planned.

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Winnipeg, Man.— Planners hope that an experiment at this year’s Mennonite Church Canada assembly (July 7-11, Winkler, Man.) will help residents of the host community of Winkler and the surrounding area get acquainted with the church.

The Friday Festival in the Park (Friday, July 9, 3:30 pm – 11:00 pm) will invite area residents to join with assembly participants in a celebration of faith. There will be musical concerts, interactive games, and activity stations representing national and international ministries in seven countries. The intergenerational festival will be held outdoors in the Winkler Park.

Pam Peters-Pries, MC Canada staff representative on the Assembly Program Committee and one of the Festival planners, said that the idea was being casually tossed around last fall. But the buzz didn’t really begin until after January, when staff met to brainstorm ideas.

“Conversation around the initial idea always included some sort of witness or outreach to the community we will visit for nearly a week,” said Peters-Pries. “In a centre the size of Winkler residents will be sure to notice an influx of six or seven hundred visitors. We asked ourselves, ‘How can we engage the delegates and the host community together in a celebration of faith?’”

Peters-Pries says that the agenda for the Festival is taking shape nicely. Six music groups have already been confirmed. A Korean group will bring a mime performance, and there will be an international fashion show. Children will be able to get their faces painted. Refreshments will be available on site, and a BBQ supper will be served ($10 for adults, $6 for children under 12, children under 2 free). Activity stations will be hosted by MC Canada staff and volunteers, and will include a dunk tank, games, and contests. An outdoor evening worship service will be followed by a wrap-up concert.

“Our main concern at this point is that the weather will hold out. July in Manitoba always holds the possibility for thunderstorms. We have a contingency plan to move indoors, but it would be much nicer to enjoy the festival outside. We think the festival is a great opportunity to help assembly goers and others to experience the theme of ‘Enough for All’ [John 6:1-14],” said Peters-Pries.