Festivals thrill region
It was a weekend full of summer celebrations throughout Central Alberta as numerous festivals and events brought music, dancing, laughter and joy to the region.
With the Latin Fiestaval in downtown Red Deer, Jazz at the Lake in Sylvan Lake, Norwegian LaftHus at Heritage Square and the Sunnybrook Farm Pioneer Days festival there was plenty for people to do.
Christian Greiffenstein of the Fiestaval, said they had about 6,000 to 7,000 people come downtown for the daylong celebration of everything latin.
“It went really well with a good turnout,” said Greiffenstein.
“Red Deer is responding pretty well to the kind of programming we’re bringing. We always want to see bigger numbers, especially this year we invested a little more in the entertainment thinking more people would come out.”
There were a few more people than usual, but not quite what they were hoping for.
This has raised questions on whether the Fiestaval would be able to go for a fifth year in 2014.
“We want to do it again for sure,” said Greiffenstein. “We don’t have as much support from the city as we’d like to.”
Greiffenstein said they would look for municipal funding or corporate sponsors going forward in hopes on bringing the Fiestaval back to the city next year.
Out in Sylvan Lake the festivities were in full swing as jazz music, and variations thereof, blasted across the community.
Eric Allison, Jazz at the Lake Festival board president, said they were very happy with how the 11th year of the summer event has gone.
“We have sold out most of our concerts,” said Allison. “It has just been an amazing weekend. At the P.J. Perry concert at the Alliance Church we used every chair, they had to reset room twice and used every single chair. It was just packed in there.”
Drawing in people of all ages, younger kids with their grandparents, parents and everyone in between Allison said they already have to start planning next year’s jazz festival because of its continued popularity.
“The festival started so small as a two-day event back in 2003 and it has just grown,” said Allison. “It’s taken on a life of its own and it requires lots of time and volunteers, and blood, sweat and tears.”
Also in Red Deer, Heritage Square was taken over by the Norwegian Laft Hus Society as they had a celebration of their heritage including a troll hunt, Scandinavian dancers, medieval skits, games, face-painting, music and goats grazing on the roof of the LaftHus.
Over at Sunnybrook Farm there was a Pioneer Days festival all weekend featuring tractor pulls and parades, a threshing demonstration, home-made pie, children activities, a concession and face painting.
A fifth festival, the Central Music Festival, was cancelled early last week due to lack of ticket sales and lack of volunteers. Organizers hope to have the festival return in 2014.