Films, family fun headline Cowichan’s One World Festival

Cowichan Intercultural Society’s biennial One World Festival is back for two big days, Sept. 16-17.

Cowichan Intercultural Society’s biennial One World Festival is back for two big days, Sept. 16-17.

Changing the event to a two-day format is new this year, according to Pema Rigzin, development coordinator for the Cowichan Intercultural Society.

Funding was a factor behind the change but it all worked out well and gave organizers the chance to create a Friday Film Night.

“We will be showing five Eye Opener films that night,” he said.

From 4-9 p.m., following the film night opening ceremony, it’s possible to see five socially significant documentaries from the Eye Opener archives and VIU’s film project, followed by Cowichan History: Take a Walk Down Memory Lane.

A huge change for the festival is that it is all happening near Vancouver Island University, either outdoors on the old ballfields or inside the building, in concert with VIU’s own fifth anniversary celebrations.

In what has become a tradition, Saturday’s events begin with the Walk of the Nations, which this year will make its way to VIU instead of starting there.

“Our events are all outdoors this year,” Rigzin said. “We are partnering with VIU, along with many other groups.”

Games, family fun, entertainment and food will all be outdoors.

“We will put some chairs out, but because it’s a field we’re hoping people will sit on the ground. We’ll have plenty of water stations because we don’t want people to become dehydrated, but it’s all outside. Also this year, we will be accepting commercial vendors and we will also be having cultural expos.

“We are expecting 18 different cultural expos. That is something we’re really excited about,” he said.

Anyone who would like to be a vendor or presenter should contact the organizers through oneworldfestivalcowichan.com, the festival website.

“Sponsors need to let us know soon so they can get on the promotion material, but otherwise we are open as long as they want to get in,” Rigzin said.

On Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., after the Walk of the Nations arrives, there’s the festival opening ceremony, all kinds of performances, a multicultural choir, a cultural fashion show, tai chi together, and children’s fun fair activities.

The big outdoor location includes room for lots of commercial vendors, the cultural expos facilitated by ethnic groups, health and wellness displays, along with cultural food vendors, and a history display showing the Intercultural Society’s 35 years in the Cowichan Valley. VIU is also part of the day with activities of its own, celebrating five years in its currently location and featuring a historical display, an art exhibit and even tours of the campus.