COLUMN: Much to enjoy at Ryga Arts Festival

As I learn about George Ryga and his contributions, it is clear why this festival carries his name

The Ryga Arts Festival is fast approaching and what an event it is going to be.

People are talking, planning and getting excited for the various events they will attend.

But my question is, what is Ryga Fest? Being relatively new to Summerland, I am not familiar with the festival and what it has to offer.

For all who are like me and do not know much about the festival, start getting excited. This event is big and one that you would likely see in a big city.

A smaller community like Summerland putting something of this magnitude on is amazing. My hat goes off to all who have made it possible.

The festival lasts for nine days and incorporates many facets of the arts. Readings and writing workshops, film and film making, music, dance, theatre and so much more.

Some of the sessions and events require tickets, but there are many being offered by donation so there is something for everyone. The line-up of talent is definitely worth checking out as many local artists are included, this seems very appropriate being that George Ryga was local and had such an impact on this very community.

As I learn more about George Ryga and the contributions he made to Canadian arts, it is clear why this festival carries his name and his essence flows through all that is taking place.

He was, and is, an inspiration to people nation wide and continues to arouse new budding artists to find their voice.

Whether you consider yourself “artistic” or not having an opportunity to participate in events like these can help awaken creativity that lies within each of us.

If you are wanting to know more about George Ryga or read some of his work check out the library and the great selection of books we have including his award-winning play, The Ecstasy of Rita Joe and other works such as Hungry Hills or The Ploughman of the Glacier.

Featured at the library this year on Aug. 24, a writer’s workshop with Nancy Holmes from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., then author readings by Aritha Van Herk and Lynette Loeppky from 2 to 4 p.m.

Extended Play on the evening of Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. will include a mixed program featuring authors Sophia Jackson, Adam Lewis Schroeder and Alix Hawley. Tap your toes to live music from Alan Crossley, Yanti and company and indulge in a glass of local wine. It will be an evening to remember.

On Aug. 31 in downtown Summerland, Theatre Trail, will be on, so don’t forget your tickets.

With an abundance of activity right at our finger tips there is so much to enjoy and celebrate.

Life, art, culture, individuality and community, this also allows us a chance to remember and thank those who have come before, those who have paved the way and shown us the diverse beauty that the human spirit is capable of.

Carly Tanasichuk is an Assistant Community Librarian at the Summerland Library.

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