In its temporary location for a second year at Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Park, the Edmonton International Street Performers Festival opens Friday.
Adding the major event to the Old Strathcona mix means they’ll be sharing the spotlight this weekend. Three other festivals are also taking place in the area.
“We have been welcomed as guests in the neighbourhood which is an incredible festival neighbourhood,” said Shelley Switzer, artistic producer for the Street Performers Festival.
“All those things together are going to make this community rock it out especially for this weekend,” said Switzer.
Just north of Street Performers is Found Festival, where people can take in an event “all about finding art in unexpected places,” said the festival’s producer Meghan Dart.
The Found Festival has already taken over the alley behind the ATB Financial Arts Barns, featuring daily live music until Sunday at the central festival site.
“Start here have a beer, listen to live music, grab a program, and sort of plan your adventure from here,” Dart said.
Across Gateway Boulevard, festival-goers can take in the final weekend of Boardwalk Sand on Whyte. And then, there’s the massive annual outdoor art sale.
“We usually draw about 40,000 people ourselves, so we are a big event,” said Kim Fjordbotten with the Whyte Ave Art Walk.
The Whyte Ave Art Walk will once again run down 82 Avenue between 101 and 108 streets, featuring hundreds of local artists.
New this year, road closures along 105 Street and south of 82 Avenue, and along 81 Avenue between 104 and 105 streets to accommodate the displaced artists.
The official City of Edmonton road closures map can be found here.
Factor in the Street Performers Festival road closures and things may get a little congested.
“There’s no other place you need to go,” Fjordbotten laughed.
The Art Walk organizer sais it’s a chance for the neighbourhood to do what it does best.
“I think Old Strathcona is living up to what it does gracefully and organically,” Fjordbotten said. “You have the outdoor cafes, you have the arts, and the theatre the performances… it’s just a nice community.”
There’s no question, it promises to be a wonderful Whyte Avenue weekend if Mother Nature cooperates.
“This weekend is going to be fantastic,” Switzer said, “let’s just all pray to the weather gods, right?”