On a cool autumn evening in times past, people gathered around a fire to share stories of ancient creatures, heroes, and epic journeys. Such tales are the focus of Myth Country Fair, an all ages event that is part of the Thousand Faces Festival taking place on Oct. 14 and 15 on Alberta Avenue.
This is the 10th anniversary of the Thousand Faces Festival, which has been split into two different parts this year. The first, Myth Country Fair, will happen at and around the Alberta Avenue Community Centre on the evenings of Oct. 14 and 15. The second, CanNatyam, will focus on telling stories through South Asian classical dance. It takes place from Nov. 4 to 6 at La Cité Francophone.
Mark Henderson, artistic director for the festival, spoke enthusiastically about Myth Country Fair.
“[Myth Country Fair] is going to circle around the themes of harvest, and themes of going into the darkness to come out the other side to the light. We’re going to explore things like what it means to be a friend… We’re going to explore things like the journey of the soul.”
The doors for Myth Country Fair will open at 6:30 pm each evening, with events starting around 7 pm. The evening will feature stories from Ukraine, Tanzania, China, and other countries. There will also be activities, like an interactive flamenco workshop led by Sebastian Barrera. Each night will include a buffet with dishes from local Alberta Avenue restaurants.
There isn’t a preset schedule of events for Myth Country Fair. Instead, people are encouraged to embrace the fair-like atmosphere and go to whatever area piques their curiosity.
“It’s an opportunity for people from the Ave to come together and meet and mingle, and experience these different cultures,” says Henderson.
Admission to Myth Country Fair is free, but festival organizers suggest a $25 donation. People can donate at the door or on the festival’s website. Henderson says organizers wanted to make admission free, as they don’t want anyone facing financial hardship to stay away from the festival.
Although the festival had an in-person event last year, there was a capacity limit of 50 people. This year, the festival is fully open to the public. While people can go online to register in advance, it isn’t required. Attendees can show up at 6:30 pm to get admitted into the festival.
Although some things have changed for the Thousand Faces Festival, many have stayed the same. Henderson says, “You’re going to hear stories that you never heard before, but that resonate with things you have felt before. That speaks to who you are, to who you want to be.”
The stories we share reveal important aspects of culture and community. They tell us about our fears, our regrets, our hopes, and our desires. People have been sharing stories with each other as far back as 30,000 years, perhaps longer. Myth Country Fair isn’t just a festival supporting the Alberta Avenue community, it’s also continuing one of the oldest traditions of humanity.
THOUSAND FACES FESTIVAL
Myth Country Fair, Oct. 14-15: Alberta Avenue Community Centre (9210 118 Ave)
CanNatyam, Nov. 4-6: La Cité Francophone (8627 91 St)
Admission is free, but a donation of $25 is suggested.