The return of the Collage Cultural Festival surpassed the expectations of those who helped organize the event.
Collage happened from September 27 to 29 at the Estevan Leisure Centre, with exhibits spread out down the hallway and entertainers performing in the multi-purpose room.
Southeast Newcomer Services (SNS) pieced together the event, and the organization's information services advisor, Melanie Mantei, was excited with all that was happening, especially since SNS didn't have a lot of time to plan it after receiving funding in August.
The SNS doesn't have an exact figure on how many people attended, but Mantei said the total attendance was between 1,000 and 1,500 people. The estimation was based on how many fliers they distributed to people who entered the Leisure Centre.
Exhibitors were very impressed with the response from the public, she said.
"The Indian food booth ran out of food on Saturday (September 28), and they didn't attend on Sunday, so I think the attendance was higher than their expectations," said Mantei.
Several different cultural groups from Estevan, along with organizations that work closely with newcomers, had booths at Collage. One exhibitor allowed people to have their photos taken in famous settings.
The entertainment was better than she expected, too. A performance by the Estevan Sikh Society proved to be the biggest draw, but there were also large crowds for the Chung Wah Kung Fu Centre's Lion Dance and kung fu demonstrations, and the Skin and Bones percussion group's African and Middle Eastern rhythms.
The Estevan Filipino Community, the Estevan Combat Sport and Fitness, the Drewitz School of Dance's highland dances, yoga instructor Larissa Bouvier, Zumba instructor Tanya Nichol, the Watching Eye magician, the Me'ira belly dancers and the Third Down Band also performed.
The event was tied in with the Showcase Business Expo, and it proved to be a mutually beneficial partnership, she said.
Mantei is optimistic that Collage will be offered on an annual basis, and that it will continue to be in conjunction with Showcase. If they receive their funding earlier next year, she said there will be more time to plan, and Collage could have even more to offer next year.