Tour Guide Kyle

Kyle McLean’s first taste of Folklorama was at age 18 when he attended as a pavilion guest. Having just moved to Winnipeg, Kyle was searching for opportunities to get involved in the community. He found himself on the Volunteer Manitoba website, where he came across open positions for the 41st Folklorama Festival.

Since launching his volunteer journey with Folklorama in 2010, Kyle has donated his time at the Folklorama Kick-Off event in July, the Ambassador Inauguration, and as a tour guide, attending annual tour guide training sessions and tour check-ins.

As someone who enjoys meeting new people, having fun and eating, his favourite position has been as a tour guide. When asked, Kyle expressed one of the most unique aspects of being involved in Folklorama as a tour guide has been learning about other cultures.

“I always say to my groups the pavilions are inviting you into their homes to enjoy a meal, entertainment, and hospitality. While we might be in a church basement, a gymnasium, recreation centre, a cultural centre, or the convention centre, when you step in the doors it’s like you are in each of the pavilion volunteers’ homes. They want you to be well fed, have good drinks, and be entertained, leaving with a great understanding of their culture.”

Growing up in a small town in Western Manitoba, his community didn’t have a lot of diversity. Having the opportunity to learn and share what Folklorama is about with hundreds of people as a tour guide is something Kyle takes great pride in.

“I tell my groups, Folklorama is about cultures not countries; while countries and borders often encompass a culture, we celebrate different cultures. I enjoy making my groups think about that and realize that every pavilion we attend is a different cultural group that makes up Winnipeg and Manitoba. I tell my guests that the volunteers, dancers, and everyone you meet at the pavilion are people we work with, they are our neighbours, and they are people we meet every day in our daily interactions.”

Travelling from pavilion to pavilion each night, meeting new people from the city and around the globe, and enhancing the experience of a large range of groups from high school students to bachelorette parties, Kyle gets the best of both worlds. No matter who is touring on the bus, he is always blown away by how engaged and energetic they are.

For those considering getting involved, Kyle says: “be ready to have fun, have a smile on your face, and enjoy meeting people and wearing a bright orange tour guide shirt”.

If you are looking to get involved with Folklorama as a volunteer, please contact Wynne Au, Director of Member & Festival Services at wau@folklorama.ca