Photo by MARK BRETHERTON/Advocate Staff

Centrefest a big hit

Montreal-based Flip bounced their way into the hearts of appreciative crowds at the weekend’s Centrefest. “I loved it. I really liked the flips,” said 10-year-old Mersades McKay of the family-based trampoline act that was just one of half a dozen marquee Circle Show performers to entertain over the two-day event." “I really liked the flips too,” chimed in younger brother Kolton McKay. Both siblings were particularly impressed by the trampolinists’ grand finale featuring three of the performers bouncing and somersaulting in unison.

Montreal-based Flip bounced their way into the hearts of appreciative crowds at the weekend’s Centrefest.

“I loved it. I really liked the flips,” said 10-year-old Mersades McKay of the family-based trampoline act that was just one of half a dozen marquee Circle Show performers to entertain over the two-day event.”

“I really liked the flips too,” chimed in younger brother Kolton McKay.

Both siblings were particularly impressed by the trampolinists’ grand finale featuring three of the performers bouncing and somersaulting in unison.

Mom Shelley McKay is a big fan of the Centrefest concept.

“I think it’s a great idea. It brings people out,” she said.

And the price is right.

“It’s a donation. You give what you can afford.”

Dan Ouwehand was with his eight-year-old son and three-year-old daughter, who were trying their hands at the various activities aimed at youngsters in Circus World. Stations gave children at chance to test their skills at everything from stilt walking and juggling to balancing boards.

“I think it’s great,” he said. “I like it when they shut down the downtown. I think it’s great that it gets the families to come down,”said Ouwehand.

He too likes that there are so many free activities that families can choose how much to spend.

This was the 14th year for the event and it featured an international cast of high-quality acts, including Australia’s Zap Circus, Israel’s Cirque No Problem and U.K’s “master of crowd control” Bill Ferguson.

Among the acts this year was the U.S.’s The Puppet Guy (Lee Zimmerman) who has spent 30 years touring his rock ‘n roll marionette show.

Festival director Janice Shimek was pleased with how the 14th version of the event went.

“It went really well on Saturday,” she said. “(Sunday) we drew big crowds as well. It was a little bit cooler, which helps in some ways.”

A couple of festival-goers had to be treated with cold packs by first aid attendants on Saturday when the heat got to them.

The performers had nothing but good things to say about the festival. “They absolutely loved Red Deer and loved the people. They hoped they can come back.”

Food vendors also did well, she said.

While the festival avoids repeating its performers year to year, some of this year’s acts may be invited back in future years.

Shimek said big things are planned for next year. Not only is it the 15th anniversary of Centrefest, it is the country’s 150th birthday.

She promises next year’s show will feature a “spectacular act” befitting the special anniversaries.

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