The Checkerboard Guy juggles a torch, an axe and a shoe at City Hall Park Friday during the CentreFest kickoff barbecue. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

Video: Sneak preview of CentreFest acts

Hundreds turned out at City Hall Park on Friday

Bowling ball juggling, acrobat performances and more took over downtown Red Deer ahead of Central Alberta’s biggest street performer festival.

CentreFest is Saturday and Sunday, but people got a preview of the performers Friday afternoon in City Hall Park while enjoying a barbecued lunch.

“I’m hearing a lot of cheering and clapping so I think it’s going to be a good street performer festival,” said CentreFest chair Jan Penney.

All the Circle Show performers had brief acts for the hour-long barbecue. Sharon from Canada started things off, apologizing for everything, before introducing all the other performers.

“I think the acts are great,” festival director Janice Shimek said. “I love Sharon from Canada, she’s very ‘politically correct.’ We’ve had Spandy Andy before, and he really knows how to pump up a crowd really quickly. The Silver Starlets are going to be a hit as well.”

In celebration of the country’s 150th year, all performers – six for the Circle Show and four roving artists – are originally from Canada.

The barbecue acted as a fundraiser for CentreFest – $5 bought a burger, chips and a pop – with all proceeds going towards the event.

“Compared to last year’s barbecue, we have way more people,” Shimek said. “It’s a great little fundraiser for us, and I think folks love coming out here. We couldn’t ask for better weather, too.”

Seeing the event come together after a year of planning is very satisfying, Shimek said. There is still more work until the festival gets going on Saturday at noon, she added.

“On Saturday we come first thing in the morning, we’re on the streets at 6:30 to set up and by 11:30 we’re rocking,” she said.

Friday wasn’t the only day City Hall Park will be busy as Circus World will be there throughout the weekend. It’s one of the most popular parts of CentreFest, Shimek said.

“This park is literally full Saturday and Sunday. Kids are taken away kicking and screaming because they don’t want to go home, so I think we’re doing something right,” she said.

A full list of the performers can be found at


Tianna the Traveller goes to whip a flower out of her own mouth Friday afternoon at City Hall Park. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

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