Icelandic Festival of Manitoba President, 2018-2019
Welcome to Islendingadagurinn 2018! I am honoured to be serving as the President of The Icelandic Festival of Manitoba (“Icelandic Festival”) for the next two years. I have attended The Icelandic Festival every year since birth. There is a very good reason for this. My Afi, Eric Stefanson served as the President of The Icelandic Festival twice: from 1957 to 1958 and from 1966 to 1967. My dad, Dennis N. Stefanson served as President in 1973 and 1974. My Amma, Sigrun Stefanson served as Fjallkona in 1959.
I have volunteered in many capacities for The Icelandic Festival of Manitoba over the years. My wife, Shannon and our children, Jilian, Reyna and Natalie are seasonal residents in Gimli and we continue many family traditions including volunteering on festival weekend.
The theme of the 2018 Icelandic Festival is: “Gather as Family”. This theme furthers the mission of the Icelandic Festival which is to promote and sustain interest in Icelandic culture through an annual family oriented festival. My late father liked to say that “family is bedrock” and he was right. Whether your family is big or small, whether you are involved in the Icelandic community by a bloodline, marriage or through close friend groups, The Icelandic Festival weekend is the perfect time to gather as family and enjoy some valuable time together under the sun in Gimli. As always, there will be a few new events and activities this year including a soccer game featuring an Icelandic men’s team and an on-line 50-50 draw.
I would be remiss if I did not pause to take some time to extend a series of thank you’s. First of all, a heartfelt thank you to all of our volunteers who ensure that our numerous events are successful year in and year out on Festival weekend. Without them, the Festival would not take place. We have a very strong and capable group of Board members and staff. Special recognition is due to our past President, Robbie Rousseau for his capable term as President.
The Icelandic Festival of Manitoba is a registered charity and relies on the generosity of donors and sponsors in order to keep our Festival mostly free or low cost. Thank you to all those who have donated to date and I encourage those who have not to consider doing so. It is a great cause and your donations are sincerely appreciated.
The Legacy Project of The Icelandic Festival of Manitoba, Viking Park, was created in 2017 as a way of thanking the Gimli community for allowing us to host our Festival in Gimli since 1932. Phase 1A will be built in 2018 and consists of extending one of the pathways by completing it with interlocking stones, some of which will contain donor recognition etchings. We are currently forecasting that Phase 2 of Viking Park will be constructed in 2019 and there will be more donor opportunities as part of that construction process. Feel free to contact any Board member of The Icelandic Festival of Manitoba for further details.
I look forward to seeing you at the 2018 Icelandic Festival of Manitoba.
Grant A. Stefanson