Centrefest kicks off on Saturday in Red Deer

Organizers are expecting large crowds

Organizers are hoping Central Alberta’s largest street performer festival will be one for the record books.

Street performers will fill the streets of downtown Red Deer for the 15th annual Centrefest on Saturday and Sunday.

The popular summer event will feature performers originally from Canada in celebration of the nation’s 150th year. With this being a milestone year for Canada and Centrefest, festival director Janice Shimek said she’s hoping to see around 30,000 come out, up from the 22-25,000 the event has normally seen.

“We continue to grow each year,” Shimek said. “I think (this year) will be the busiest as far as activity on the street goes.”

Whether you’re interested in seeing acrobats and strongmen from Ontario, magicians and dancers from Red Deer or even dinosaurs and robots from Edmonton, there will be plenty of interesting acts at this year’s event. There will also be more food vendors and artisans than in previous years, Shimek added.

“It’s amazing what we have coming this year,” she said.

There will be some learning opportunities that weren’t available in previous years, Shimek said. The Silver Starlets, acrobat performers, will be teaching children aerials for a couple hours on Saturday and Sunday and the ATCO Energy Education Mobile will teach children about the science behind energy. The ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen will also be at Centrefest for the first time to provide household advice and recipes.

Before performers hit the streets Saturday and Sunday, Centrefest will have an official kickoff barbecue in City Hall Park on Friday at noon.

At the barbecue “people can have a sneak peek of some of the performances they’ll see during the weekend,” Shimek said.

All funds raised at the barbecue go towards the festival.

Circle Show performers and roving performers for Centrefest will give a sneak peek at what’s in store during the festival. Red Deer magician Kyle Key has performed at Centrefest twice in the past, in 2015 and 2012, and is looking forward to doing it again.

“A lot of the shows I do are private shows in somebody’s living room or something like that … so this is a great setting where it’s public, it’s downtown, there’s lots of stuff to see and do,” Key said, who has been doing magic since he was five.

The festival will run from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. For more information on the festival you can visit www.centrefest.ca.

sean.mcintosh@reddeeradvocate.com

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