Manitoba Sunflower Festival

Manitoba Sunflower Festival

Last weekend in July
The Mennonites were members of an evangelical Protestant sect that originated in Europe in the 16th century and was named for Menno Simon, a Dutch priest. They began emigrating to North America in the late 17th century and lived primarily as farmers, retaining their German language. A number of Russian Mennonites settled in Manitoba, Canada, where their heritage is still celebrated in the towns along the so-called Mennonite Trail.
Because the Mennonites were the first to extract the oil from sunflower plants, the city of Altona in southern Manitoba has chosen to honor its Mennonite heritage with an annual Sunflower Festival during the last weekend in July. Since 1965 the festival has attempted to revive the Mennonite culture by offering performances of "low German" humor and by serving a number of Mennonite foods such as schmaunfat, veriniki, pluma moose, borscht, and rollkuchen. A special sunflower ice cream is made especially for the festival. Less "authentic" activities include the Great Ping Pong Ball Drop, motorcross races, pancake breakfasts, and a huge farmers' market.
CONTACTS:
Town of Altona
111 Centre St.
Altona, MB R0G 0B0 Canada
204-324-6468; fax: 204-324-1550
www.townofaltona.com
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