Sylvan Lake gears up for a summer of arts and culture

Many new events planned this summer to promote local arts and culture

Sylvan Lake looked to the City of Love for inspiration to add a little romance to its summer arts and culture lineup.

A “Lockets and Love” fence will be set up on Centennial Street where romantics can leave a padlock, a nod to the famous Pont des Arts bridge in Paris that was once festooned with hundreds of thousands of locks left as symbols of love.

The fence is just one of the imaginitive ways the town is celebrating its arts and culture this summer.

Art will be everywhere. It will be on benches, fire hydrants, on murals, a new street piano, and even on some crosswalks, which will be painted to resemble piano keys.

Amidst this colourful backdrop, musicians and singers will entertain and food vendors will feed local appetites, with much of the action centred around Centennial Street.

“We have tagged Centennial Street to be a music festival street for Sylvan Lake,” said culture and tourism co-ordinator Kristen Shima.

All will be offered in an effort to give residents and visitors a taste of local musical and artistic talent, while creating a vibrant downtown.

Mayor Sean McIntyre said a culture master plan created in 2017 provided the impetus for this year’s efforts.

The plan showed, he said, that “a complete community is more than parks and services. It also includes culture and art.

“In Sylvan Lake’s history, we’ve been great in the sports department, for instance. But when it comes to arts and culture, there was some work to be done,” he said.

McIntyre said the local arts and culture community showed their strength and imagination when the culture master plan was prepared.

“We’re taking those ideas now and running with them.”

Next week, the first of several planned murals will be created by local high school students.

The popular Food Truck Thursdays will continue, with the hours extended from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. At dusk, on Thursdays, free outdoor movies will be shown in Centennial Park through July and August.

A StrEAT Festival, billed as Sylvan Lake’s first festival for foodies, is taking place on Saturday from 2 to 7 p.m. in front of the public library.

The farmer’s market is back, running from 4 to 7:30 p.m. at Lakefront Park, where Wild Rapids Waterslides was once located.

Saturdays, a street market will take place on Centennial Street from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“There are going to be live artists and art workshops, such as perfume and jewellery making, and musicians,” said Shima.

The plan is to offer something new every Saturday. One week might be an escape room, another week might have yoga demonstrations.

Besides the lineup of new events, the annual 1913 Days is set to run June 14 to 16, and Canada Day celebrations with fireworks will be back.

In August, the popular Jaws at the Lake outdoor movie will return on Aug. 4. The 17th Annual Jazz at the Lake Festival is set to run Aug. 16 to 18.

Among the new events is the Varsity Dance on Aug. 24, which hearkens back to the town’s history as a popular dance spot, with the local Varsity Hall a once-loved venue. Some of the participants will be donning their best 1920s fashions to get into the swing of things.

On Aug. 31, Culinart, a drink, food and art walk along Centennial Street and Lakeshore Drive, is planned.

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