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COLUMN: Nothing marginal about this festival

Summerland is a very unique and quirky town. I quickly discovered this when I first moved to town six years ago.

Summerland is a very unique and quirky town. I quickly discovered this when I first moved to town six years ago.

As I drove into town for the first time, I was greeted by a gigantic banner across Prairie Valley Road proclaiming the start of Action Fest weekend.

“What is Action Fest?” I thought. A Jean Claude Van Damme film festival? Mixed Martial Arts in the Park? I speculated for a few days before learning it was a baseball tournament that include music, food and arm wrestling in the park. But of course!

Action Fest isn’t the only unique thing about Summerland. There is a club for almost every hobby you could imagine: Knitting, sailing, short wave radio, baking, crokinole, and the list goes on.

Many varieties of apples were developed right here in Summerland at the Research Station including Spartan, Sunrise and Silken. And did you know we used to have to have a town crier? But I digress... You probably already know most of these things about Summerland.

What I really wanted to tell you about is a new, unique festival coming to Summerland that celebrates the Arts.

The Marginal Arts Festival, inspired by Canadian playwright George Ryga, will feature singing, acting and writing workshops as well as music and theatre performances all weekend at different venues across Summerland.

The library will be hosting workshops, play readings and film screenings over the course of the festival. “The Political Playwright”, a documentary about the life and work of George Ryga and “The Ecstasy of Rita Joe” by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet with music by Ann Mortifee, will be shown Aug. 25 and 30 at 6:30 p.m. in the meeting place. Friday Sept. 2 author, filmmaker, and playwright Mark Leiren-Young will be at the library for a creative non-fiction writing workshop from 10:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. (there is still space!) and a play reading from his plays Shylock, Bar Mitzvah Boy and the Ecstasy of George Ryga from 2:30 to 4 p.m.  Saturday Sept. 3 playwright Leanna Brodie will be here for a writing workshop from 10:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. (yes, there is still room!) and a reading from three of her plays including The Schoolhouse, The Vic and the Book of Esther from 2:30 to 4 p.m.

There is so much happening at the festival, the best way not to miss anything is to check out the festival website at and read more about the fantastic talent festival organizers are bringing to Summerland. There will also be a free concert in Memorial Park Saturday Sept. 3 from noon to 4:30 p.m. featuring three spectacular B.C. bands.

If you have never read anything by George Ryga, the library is the perfect place to start. The display will include “In the Shadow of the Vulture” by George Ryga, “The Book of Esther” by Leanna Brodie and “Never Shout at a Stampede Queen” by Mark Leiren-Young. By the way, rumour has it that Ann Mortifee has been spotted at the Library.

Come check out The Marginal Arts Festival!  It will be a great addition to the uniqueness of Summerland.

Crystal Fletcher is an Assistant Community Librarian at the Summerland Branch and a rookie festival goer.