It was another great conclusion to what is fast becoming a proud tradition in the Humboldt area.
The sixth annual Pelican Bay Arts Festival wrapped up last week after four days of events. The festival ran from March 27-30 in both Humboldt and Muenster.
This year's festival attracted about 150 people in all. That's a similar turnout compared to last year, said organizer Ruth Ward of the Humboldt Reid-Thompson Public Library.
However, Ward stressed that it's difficult to compare one year of the festival to the next, as the number of events held each year has often varied greatly.
This year's schedule included readings by members of the Tisdale Writers' Group at Between the Pages bookstore in Humboldt on March 27, the launch of the St. Peter's College (SPC) literary journal The Society on March 28 at Muenster, a "Poetry and Pie" evening at the Reid-Thompson Public Library in Humboldt on March 29, and a "poetry slam" featuring Humboldt Collegiate Institute (HCI) students reading from their work on March 30 at the Humboldt and District Museum.
Members of the Humboldt Writers' Group also read as part of the "Poetry and Pie" evening at the library, and Betty Zary of Humboldt kicked off the poetry slam with a reading from her book, The Legacy.
Award-winning poets Dennis Cooley and Fred Wah gave readings as part of the Society launch at SPC's Michael Hall library, with about 80 people in attendance. Cooley shared some of his poems included in the latest issue of The Society's Journal, as well as others depicting life in Saskatchewan.
Wah, who the 1986 Governor-General's Award for his collection Waiting for Saskatchewan, included a dazzling multimedia display as part of his reading.
Don Kerr - the official Poet Laureate of Saskatchewan - read at the "Poetry and Pie" event at Reid-Thompson. His writing, wry humour and keen intelligence were thoroughly enjoyed by the two dozen or so in attendance, Ward said.
Ward noted that it has always been a mandate of the festival to include writers with roots firmly planted in the Saskatchewan soil.
Cooley, Wah and Kerr are all Saskatchewan natives, although Cooley (who grew up in Estevan) has spent the past 37 years in Winnipeg, and Wah (born in Swift Current but raised in southeastern B.C.) now lives in Vancouver.
Kerr, who was born in Saskatoon, is a retired professor of English and Film Studies who spent his entire career at the University of Saskatchewan.
Writers who have taken part in the festival in previous years include such notables as Robert Kroetsch, Sharon Butala, Gary Hyland, R.P. MacIntyre, Shelley Leedahl, Dave Margoshes, and Louise Halfe.
Ward said bringing in renowned writers has meant a lot to our own fledgling writers within the Humboldt community. In past years, writing workshops have sometimes been included as part of the festival scheulde.
The Tisdale Writers' Group has also served as a great role model, as its members have published several anthologies now, she said.
"They're a great example of what a writer's group can accomplish," she noted.
Funding for this year's Pelican Bay Arts Festival came from a variety of sources.
SPC receives an annual grant for from the Canada Council for the Arts for The Society, while the Saskatchewan Writer's Guild sponsored the poetry and pie night at the library.
Also providing financial support for the different events were the Reid-Thompson Library, Friends of the Library, Friends of the Museum, and Between the Pages bookstore.