Twice the festival fun is being planned for Red Deer this month as the Alexander Way Festival combines with Alberta Arts Days.
Public music and art events will be spread over three days, from Sept. 17-19, due to the Alberta government selecting Red Deer’s Bower Ponds as one of five feature “celebration sites” across the province for Alberta Arts Days.
The honour comes with $75,000 to throw an extra big party.
And Wendy Meeres, cultural community development co-ordinator for the City of Red Deer, is thrilled to use some of the money to pull together a diverse lineup of local musicians for Sunday’s Arts on the Ponds event.
Entertainment on the Bower Ponds stage from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday will include performances from St. James’ Gate, Union Soundtrack, Ruth Purves Smith, Half Chance Heroes, Donna Durand, The Neopolitins, Old Busted Bones and the Central Alberta Choir.
“There’ll be a real variety” — everything from Celtic, rock, ska and choir music, to folk, rap and jazz, said Meeres.
“It’s really going to give us an opportunity to have a higher (arts) profile,” predicted Meeres, who believes Bower Ponds was selected by the province because Red Deer community groups co-operated so well on organizing local activities during last year’s Alberta Arts Days festival when the city did not have any special designation.
Arts on the Pond will also feature local art displays, food vendors, and the Red Deer Public Library’s The Art of Living, Human Library Project, featuring area residents who are willing to share their personal stories.
The Alexander Way Festival, which will run from noon to 5:30 p.m. Saturday on Alexander Way (48th Street at 52nd Avenue and Centennial Park), will offer a “huge” art market.
“It would be the perfect time to start thinking about making some locally-made great purchases of pottery, cards, jewelry or paintings,” said Annette Scheper, special events community and program facilitator for the city.
As well there will be art demos, entertainment, children’s activities, and food vendors. A community peace jam, drum circle and the Earthdance non-denominational prayer for peace will also be held.
Friday’s free public events are mostly happening at The Hub (4936 Ross St.), starting with a puffed wheat square bake-off at noon and continuing with art and music functions throughout the afternoon. The Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery will also host a drop-in visual arts program from 1-3 p.m.
Some other arts-related events happening around the city on the same weekend are:
• World premiere gala for the RDC student film Tumaini at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 17, at the Memorial Centre in Red Deer. Tickets are $36.30 from the Black Knight Ticket Centre.
• Multi-media artist, singer/songwriter Richard Harrow performs Friday, Sept. 17, at 7 p.m. at The Hub. Tickets $15 ($30 per family) at The Hub.
• Against the Wall Theatre’s Bull Skit! sketch comedy nights will be held at The Scott Block (103, 4816-50th Ave.) on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 17, 18, from 8 p.m. Tickets are $18 ($15 students/seniors) at the door.
• A free faculty and alumni (KlamDaggers) concert will be held at the RDC Mainstage at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18. It will be preceded by a 5:30 p.m. barbecue for student food bank donations.
• Scriptease happens at The Scott Block in downtown Red Deer from 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 19. The Prime Stock Theatre event actually takes place over 12 hours, starting with short plays being written in the morning and ending with their evening performances where they are judged in front of an audience. Last year’s event featured four 15-minute plays. Tickets are $20 ($10 students/seniors) at the door.