Events on Manitoulin Island this weekend!

Buzwah Variety’s TikTok powwow goes viral

BUZWAH – Buzwah Variety’s Rick Leedham was sitting on his computer one day and saw where Gordie Odjig had posted a short video of a dancer in regalia on the popular social media site TikTok when a sudden inspiration struck. With the community’s powwows cancelled for the second year in a row, why not go virtual and provide a way to uplift spirits too long away from the powwow arena?

“I thought to myself ‘what a neat idea’,” he recalled when contacted by The Expositor. He began setting up an event on his Facebook page when his neighbour Lisa Osawamick pitched in to help and sponsored a third place prize. From there things quickly began escalate.

“Wiikwemkoong Tourism called and said they wanted to help,” said Ms. Leedham. “Dustin Peltier set up an event page for it, he has been a huge help. I have never set up anything like this before.”

Soon chief and council got wind of the project and lent their considerable weight to the concept. “They really liked the idea,” said Mr. Leedham.

“So many people have missed the powwows,” he said. “This is a way that we can experience again, just a little. It is a way to raise people’s spirits.”

The virtual powwow is now being brought by Buzwah Variety, Zaagidwin Counseling and Consulting, Wikwemikong Tourism and Wiikwemkoong chief and council.

Wiikwemkoong band members should be ready to get their powwow on by putting on their regalia to dance to the beat of the drum in Wiikwemkoong’s TikTok Cultural Dance Competition 2021. 

Cash prizes will go to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishers in each division, plus there will be random prizes given out just for entering—which means everyone will have a chance to win!

Submissions/TikTok video links must be shared to the event page which can be found under the Facebook heading ‘TikTok Cultural Dance Competition 2021.’ You can start submitting your TikTok videos starting July 26 and the powwow ends July 31.

Categories and prizes include: adult pair, 1st place, $500; 2nd place, $300; third place, $200; adult single, 1st place, $300; 2nd place, $200; 3rd place, $100; youth pair, 1st place, $300; 2nd place, $200; third place, $100; and youth single: 1st place, $200; 2nd place, $150; third place, $100. There will also be participatory prizes to be won.

The contest rules are: the competition is open to all Wiikwemkoong band members; full historical or modern regalia must be worn the majority of the video; be under one minute in length; use appropriate sound such as music, original, etc. no profanity or inappropriate language; and appropriate skit/dance/appearance with no inappropriate gestures; and appropriate clothing.

Judging will be based on originality, visual appeal and the following of all guidelines.

Winners will be announced on Monday, August 2. Each entry must provide name, the age of each person participating and a confirmation the entry is from a Wikwemikong band member to qualify.

A TikTok page has been set up and participants are invited to use the hashtag #WikTok. Website savvy youth might consider stepping up to help elders participate as well.

So, Wiikwemkoong, get ready to get your powwow on and let’s do Chris Pheasant Baa proud.

August Long Country Jam hits stage Friday night

LITTLE CURRENT – After many starts and stops along the way, Great Lakes Country is pleased to announced a semblance of normalcy with the August Long Country Jam this Friday, July 30 at the Manitoulin Country Fest grounds in Little Current. Co-organizer Craig Timmermans told The Expositor Monday that the event had that day been granted permission for up to 1,000 people to attend the one-day event.

Doors to the grounds open this Friday at 6 pm with the show getting underway at 7 pm beginning with the live music of Kelsi Mayne followed by Rivertown Saints and then headliner Jason McCoy. A fireworks show will end the night at approximately 11:30 pm.

Car passes are available with four passengers per car (the cost is extra for additional passengers) with walk-in tickets also on offer. For those who choose to drive in with their vehicles, they may bring lawn chairs with them to place around their cars, or sit in the truck beds of their pickups, Kelly Timmermans of Great Lakes Country explained.

Some picnic table seating will also be available at the concert, first come, first served. Ms. Timmermans asked that attendees stay within their social bubbles while enjoying the live show and to wear their masks when dealing with staff or volunteers or if they are unable to maintain social distance.

Walk-in tickets are $40 plus taxes and service fees with car passes $139 or $179 for up-front parking.

As of press time Monday, Ms. Timmermans was still unsure whether a beer tent would be available (so bring your ID just in case), but pop, water and other snacks will be available for purchase.

For tickets, and for more information, please visit