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A release from the Guyana Consulate in Toronto said the annual festival attracts thousands of patrons from across Canada and overseas. In previous years, an estimated 20,000 people participated in the events.
Organised to mark the anniversary of Guyana's Independence, it has earned the distinction of being the largest annual gathering of Guyanese out of Guyana, the consulate said.
Guyana will celebrate its 37th Independence anniversary on May 26.
Many prominent Guyanese and Guyanese organisations have been invited to participate in the celebrations. Among the participants this year are native Amerindians, who will treat the audience to original native songs, culture and dance.
The Guyana national cricket team will also be travelling to Toronto to play against a Canadian team at L'Amoreaux grounds, the consulate said.
Winner of the 2003 Miss Body Beautiful contest, Alana Pollard, will also be making a special guest-posing appearance at the festival.
"There is special emphasis this year on promoting Guyana's many eco-tourist resorts and also on building greater linkages and awareness between Toronto and Guyana," the consulate said, noting that Canada plays home to almost 200,000 Guyanese, most of whom reside in the Greater Toronto area.
Consul General for Guyana, Mr. Danny Doobay said, "this year, we are expecting the largest delegation from Guyana. We are also expecting two Guyanese soccer teams - the Starliners from Maryland D.C and the Camptown from Brooklyn, New York.
"Our goal is to produce another spectacular weekend of family entertainment for our community and beyond. We will have something for everyone."
The festival begins with a seminar today under the theme 'Guyana - A New and Exciting Nature and Adventure Destination'.
The consulate said this educational component focuses on marketing Guyana's tourism products and the target audience includes travel agents, tour operators, travel writers, as well as Guyanese organisations and nationals.
The seminar will be followed by an awards dinner, an annual event to recognise the contributions of nationals in the promotion of Guyana, Guyanese heritage and culture. The dinner and dance will be held at the Elite Banquet Hall, 1850 Albion Road, Rexdale. Tickets are $30 each.
Tomorrow, the celebrations will continue with a flag-raising ceremony, followed by a grand festival encompassing diverse entertainment, food, tourism and heritage displays, arts and crafts and games.
A crucial part of the festivities, the cultural show, is a family event that celebrates Guyanese heritage through drama, music, dance, story telling, poetry and comedy.
It is scheduled for 14:00 and 16:00 hrs tomorrow and 12:00 hrs on Sunday. Tasty Guyanese foods, including vegetarian and halaal specials, will be on sale throughout the weekend.
The crowning event of the festival is the Western Union Celebrity Cricket Match on Sunday, featuring a national team from Guyana including world-class players, the consulate said.
An exhibition match between the Ontario and Canadian Softball Leagues is planned for tomorrow, while the El Dorado Championship match is on schedule for Sunday morning.
Both games are to be played at L'Amoreaux cricket ground and will be preceded on Sunday morning by an interfaith service which starts at 10:00 hrs.