A hula hoop circus, a bowling ball juggler, high-level clowns and acrobats are all poised to wow the crowds at Centrefest 2023 — which is swinging soon into downtown Red Deer.
The 20th annual festival will unfold at Ross Street and Little Gaetz Avenue on Saturday and Sunday, July 29 and 30 — with a sneak preview of the action planned from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, July 28 in Veteran’s Park, near the Cenotaph.
Chelsea Bates, co-chair of the Red Deer Summer Centrefest Society, is excited to bring six circle show acts to the city this year — which is one more than in 2022.
The street performers will include U.S. world champion juggler and comedian Sam Malcolm, who’s entertained at The Comedy Store in Hollywood and is set to unleash seven balls into the air — as well as his “razor-sharp tongue.”
Rueben DotDotDot from Australia will push the limits of gravity with his precariously perched handstands, done high in the air, while the Cate the Great show will bring some sky-high circus/theatre tricks from Quebec.
There’s also Toronto’s Last Strongman, Mighty Mike, who will be heaving and juggling bowling balls. And a couple of dual-purpose acts are designed to thrill and amuse at the festival — New Zealand clown Fraser Hooper (aka Funny Business) and the English tricksters known as Risky Business.
As well, roving balloon artists, clowns, magicians and stilt characters will entertain on the grounds. There will also be face painting, a vendor’s market with 30 booths, and at least eight food trucks.
Centrefest is a festival for all ages, added Bates, who hopes Red Deer-area residents will come downtown to gasp at the death-defying stunts and get some joy from all the silliness.
“It’s just a really great way to create wonderful memories and see people doing amazing things that inspired awe.”
This year’s festival will continue to have no admission charge. But as some grants did not come through and sponsorships were lower than anticipated, Bates said donations would be appreciated from those who can afford it. She’s pleased to keep offering a no-admission-charge event, however, “so that everyone can have a laugh and see something that is uplifting.”
As usual, Centrefest is offered in partnership with the Edmonton Street Performer’s Festival.
Bates also said there will be a money changing machine on site to make change to give to the street performers. She also advises festival-goers to bring a water bottle, hat and some sunscreen.
For more information, please visit centrefest.ca.