UFV is set to host the first-ever arts and cultural festival, Valley Fest, from March 11–16 on the Abbotsford campus. The event will feature a variety of events throughout the campus, including open classroom events, poetry, conferences, and a talent show.
Miriam Nichols, UFV English professor and Valley Fest organization committee board member, said the purpose of the festival is to celebrate the local culture in the Fraser Valley.
The full itinerary includes a wide variety of diverse and multicultural events. Events will be hosted by UFV and feature both events organized by faculty and staff as well as members of the community. These vary from UFV’s Got Talent, occuring on the festival’s debut (March 11), to Mennonite quilting, a talk on climate change, poetry readings, methods into understanding photo development, movie screenings, a conference on the televised series Riverdale, and many more.
“There is a great deal of diversity in the events that we plan to host on campus,” Nichols said. “We expect events may be added as we go along, so keep an eye on our event page for updates.”
One unique feature that Valley Fest will be implementing is open classrooms, in which professors who wish to allow students from any background or educational field to take part in their class indicate this with a balloon posted on the doorway. A balloon on a door means that class and the classroom is open and anyone may walk in. Open classrooms could be figure drawing (visual arts), visual communication lectures, and theatre lectures, but there are many more.
“The idea behind the balloons is that they’re noticeable,” Nichols said. “When students see them they can be comfortable knowing they are allowed into that classroom space.”
Besides the dinner finale (March 16), all other events are free for UFV students to attend.
The closing finale serves to end Valley Fest with a bang with an evening of entertainment over a plated dinner. Ticket sales for the finale will go on sale next week online through the bookstore’s website. Tickets are $20 for students and $25 for all others (non-students or guests). The ticket price includes an evening of entertainment (music by DJ Kookum, reading by writer in residence Robert Weirsema, and more) and a dinner catered by Sto:lo Caterering, with a choice of salmon or vegetarian entree. This finale will be hosted at the UFV Abbotsford campus in the cafeteria from 6–8 p.m. Drink tickets (wine and beer only) may also be purchased online as well as at the event for $4.
On top of the experience, students are also encouraged to take part in the event itself as volunteers. Volunteers receive co-curricular credit, a free ticket to the final event, and a T-shirt.
The festival has been in planning for over a year and now it’s come to its final stages. The events will be advertised via posters, Facebook events, and the festival’s UFV event webpage beginning this week.