Railroad Daze FestivalRailroad Daze Festival2
Children having fun at the Railroad Daze Summer Festival inRainy River. Click here for larger picture.

Submitted by Brittany Bowman, MNO Métis Family Wellbeing Coordinator

Railroad Daze is an annual summer festival that occurs in Rainy River every July. This year, the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) was invited to participate by providing some cultural entertainment for children and other community members. Originally centred around Rainy River’s train station, the purpose of the event is now to gather all surrounding areas and celebrate families of all cultural backgrounds and to create a fun family day.

MNO staff went to Hannam Park in Rainy River where they provided Métis inspired music as a backdrop for a number of other activities. MNO staff invited festival attendees to join in jigging and answered questions about Métis culture and history and anything else Métis related that the public wanted to know about. MNO staff also had spoons available for anyone who wanted to learn to play.

Children started out feeling shy but once they saw other community members laughing and having fun they quickly joined in and participated. The event went over very well and everyone enjoyed themselves. It was great to see cultures coming together and families enjoying time with their children. Bridging the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people was amazing and hopefully we will be able to continue the trend with more inter-cultural events like this in the near future.

Railroad Daze also included bouncy houses, a dunk tank, a water balloon game, face painting, balloon hand outs and various children themed activities. Rainy River Recreation Centre put on a mixed slow pitch baseball tournament and volunteers offered a vendor show, fun fly event, boat rides, duck races and a cardboard boat race. Overall it was a great event for the whole community.

Posted: September 12, 2017