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The Beacon Herald
Putting culture front and centre
By LAURA CUDWORTH The Beacon Herald

Want to learn a Scottish dance? How about fly over Stratford?

These are just some of the possibilities during Culture Days Sept. 28-30.

Fanshawe College students will set up a green screen and take a video that will look like you’re flying over the city. If you’ve never performed a Scottish dance, Culture Days is the time to give it a try.

The three-day event is in its third year and promises more than 70 different activities to participate in throughout Stratford and Perth County, said co-ordinator Eileen Smith.

If you never get to the Stratford Public Library because you don’t have time to read, Sept. 29 between 1:30-4 p.m. is the time to go. Several human books like “A Passion for Lego” or “Online Dating with Dr. M: Love Doctor” will be available.

The bulk of the activities in Stratford will be held at Factory 163.

Anita Gaffney, Stratford Shakespeare Festival executive director-designate, said the event has grown by about 80% over the past three years.

Culture Days is a national festival of arts.

Stratford and Perth County are among the top 10 communities participating, with higher per-capita participation than Toronto.

“Stratford is punching above its weight,” she said.

The local festival received more than $16,000 in grant money from the federal government.

“We punch above our weight but we don’t mind cashing somebody else’s cheque,” quipped Mayor Dan Mathieson.

On a serious note, he suggested Stratford is among the top 10 communities because the city is the cultural capital of the country.

The event is an opportunity to experience various art forms and give some a try. But it’s also an important opportunity for artists.

“So many people who participate are self-employed artists. Having Culture Days is a way of focusing that energy and being supported by the community,” said actor-lyricist-singer Marion Adler.

For a full schedule of events, go to