As you approach the festival site in the heart of downtown, the music and laughter float toward you, beckoning you on. Soon the aromas from the food vendors envelop you – the smells of mini-donuts, foot-long hot dogs, popcorn, ethic foods and lemonade stands mingle in a heady swirl that makes your stomach growl.
It’s CentreFest – Red Deer’s annual street performers’ festival – and you know you’re in for a day of treats. The children’s eyes are as big as saucers as they try to decide which direction to go first. As for you, the kid in you is just as delighted.
First things first, you stop at the change tent to make sure you have plenty of toonies and fives for the performers. A magician tells you to pick a card, any card, and no matter how closely you watch his hands, you can’t see how he hands you back your eight of spades after all his elaborate shuffling. The kids crane their necks to watch the stilt walkers in their colourful garb, before you move through the happy throng toward the circle show that is about to begin.
Anticipation fills the air as the street performer draws an ever growing audience with dramatic promises of daring acts involving fire and unicycles. This performer is from Australia, and you know throughout the day you’ll see professional, acrobatic goofballs from Central Alberta, Canada and around the world. Your favourite part is when a good-natured man from the audience is drawn into the act, throwing flaming torches high in the air to where the street performer clowns on her high perch, teasing him about the grey in his hair. The crowd roars with laughter at her audacity and her skill, and she responds by ratcheting up the nonsense and the daring, fire flying through the air. At the end of the performance, you hand the beaming kids money to put in her hat and laugh as they shyly approach their new hero.
It’s a beautiful sunny day, so you walk through the cooling water sprinkler, kids clutching their balloon animals and admiring each other’s face painting – an elaborate tiger and a sparkly ladybug. A visit to the food booths, then it’s time for the next circle show. The best part is, you can come back tomorrow for CentreFest, and there’s a full summer of festivals and celebrations to look forward to.
The 17th Annual CentreFest International Street Performer Festival is back in Red Deer July 27 – 28 and is bigger and better than ever. Come on down to their new location at the Gary W Harris Celebration Plaza – Entertainment, food trucks, roving artists, face painting, vendor market, Circus World for the kids to learn a few new skills, Ariel silks, and much more!
Joining them is Taste of Red Deer on July 26 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm, with over 25 local restaurants expected to participate, you will be able to purchase food vouchers to spend on whatever tantalizes your taste buds! Proceeds from Taste of Red Deer will go directly to purchasing equipment for the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre. CentreFest will also have performers on hand to provide entertainment. This family-friendly event is free to enter with food tickets required for Taste of Red Deer. Summer just got more delicious with Taste of Red Deer & CentreFest, Central Alberta’s largest street performer festival!