AMAZING ART- Artist Josh Christensen uses his fingers to chalk out a viking on the sidewalk during CentreFest this past weekend downtown.

CentreFest has big plans for the future

CentreFest 2011 was a great success with warm weather, great attendance, and an abundance of diverse entertainment, organizers say.

The temperature for both days remained above the 20-degree mark, keeping the Rotary Water World quite busy and water bottle sales at a remarkable high.

“In five hours on Saturday we out-sold last year’s total water bottle sales for both days,” said Randy Butler, events coordinator.

Butler said the mister consistently had people walking through it to cool off and take a break from the hot day and children were enjoying running through with their families.

A small change for this year’s festival was the placement of Kids World, which was located in the park instead of on the road.

“It made it seem a bit more relaxed and gave more areas to sit down and take a few minutes to enjoy the day.”

Kids World had a steady flow of interested children as well through the weekend and Butler said it was a great hit for kids of all ages.

“This year went really smooth overall and we had huge crowds. The performers were all really happy and said they enjoyed the Red Deer people.”

About 28 performers could be found at CentreFest doing a variety of things. Some had crowds shocked and in awe, while others, like Fraser Hooper, had them laughing and cheering.

Hooper is a clown out of the United Kingdom, who Butler said was “indescribable” because of his different, contemporary style of entertainment.

“He doesn’t really talk at all; everything he does is motion and we had a lot of compliments on his show and how interesting and different it was.”

As a testament to the diversity of the festival, Hooper performed for the crowds using mime, audience participation, comedy juggling and eccentric dance without missing a beat.

“There was also Alakazam and a lot of people who were marvelling at the things he can do and saying they couldn’t believe he can move the way he does.”

Alakazam, or The Human Knot, is a contortionist from Australia who entertains crowds with a mixture of body bending, comedy and sky-high acts of danger.

Alongside these performers were chainsaw jugglers, magicians, musicians, face-painters, dancers and many others.

Butler said attendance was around the 28,000 mark, which is a huge increase over past years.

Even the ATCO Gas Kick-Off on Friday went smoothly, attracting about 500 people.

Butler said one of the things that CentreFest could not function without is the volunteers. This year, about 50 people helped out.

“Our volunteers were wonderful including some who put in some very long days. We couldn’t do it without them.”

Butler said he thinks this year was the biggest CentreFest to date and that a lot of comments have been made that it was the best one so far as well.

“There are always possibilities of new things popping up in future years but we’re really happy with how things turned out this year. We are striving to improve on what we have already done.”

kpalardy@reddeerexpress.com

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