New location announced for CentreFest 2011

It may be a ways off yet, but plans are rapidly taking shape for this year’s version of CentreFest.

The popular downtown street performers’ festival takes place July 30-31. The event has become Red Deer’s largest festival and a one-of-a-kind celebration in Central Alberta. More than 25,000 people get in on the act each year.

This year, the event will take place on 48 St. at Rotary Recreation Park between 47 and 48 Avenues. Times are from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

The ATCO Gas kick-off barbecue will run in City Hall Park on July 29.

In past years, CentreFest has been held in the downtown core but this year a move was necessary because of ongoing work with the Gaetz Avenue Revitalization Project. The construction along Gaetz Ave. from 51 St. to 48 St. has rendered the traditional festival site unsuitable for CentreFest this summer.

“We have been working with the City to determine the best possible alternate site,” said Randy Butler, communications and event coordinator of the Red Deer Downtown Business Association.

“While the move may present some challenges for us as organizers, w expect there will also be opportunities that will serve the festival and the audience very well.”

CentreFest is moving into its ninth season this year and will continue to offer all the usual favourite highlights including Kids World, Rotary Water World and the Arts Market.

Over the years, the festival has been able to attract top-notch entertainment from across the province, the country and the globe.

There’s every thing from face painters to sword swallowers to acrobatic demonstrations. “CentreFest has always been about world-class street performers and we certainly wouldn’t change that aspect of the festival, but we are going to have more things for festival audiences to see and do this year,” said Butler.

There is no charge to enter the site, but folks are encouraged to financially reward the performers through a pass-the-hat policy. And with a budget of more than $200,000, CentreFest receives its financial support each year exclusively through grants and the community’s generosity.

This year, Butler said grant funding has been received from the Alberta Community Initiatives Program, the City of Red Deer’s Fee for Service program, Canadian Heritage, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts and the Red Deer and District Community Foundation.

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