You are the light... on Broadway this weekend.
Manyfest is back with its third edition Friday and one of its crowd-pleasing featured events is Saturday evening's Lights on Broadway. In the premi®re version, the elms lining the closed-to-traffic downtown avenue were lit up to create a nighttime wonderland. Since then, Winnipeggers have been employed to create the special ambience and living parade of lights in the area.
"Part of what makes Saturday night incredible is that we hand out 5,000 candles," says Stefano Grande, executive director of the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ. "People light them and stroll down Broadway. It's a very moving experience.
"To me, that's Lights on Broadway. It's much bigger than just lights on trees."
Grande is calling all Winnipeggers to head downtown for what has become the city's end-of-summer three-day celebration of community, arts, entertainment and healthy living. An expected crowd of 35,000-40,000 people will be out on what is forecast to be an ideal September weekend to sip wine, catch an outdoor movie, perhaps boogaloo down Broadway, wander the artisans' market or rollerblade on car-free streets between The Forks and Assiniboine Park on Sunday.
Manyfest has a $200,000 price tag, $30,000-$40,000 of which comes from Downtown BIZ among the business sponsorships. The intent of the event is to break even and proceeds from beer and wine sales will go to Keeping Abreast, an organization that supports survivors of breast cancer and their families.
Taste of Downtown Winnipeg Wine & Cheese Festival has been given a name change; it's now the Wine & Beer Festival. Drinks will be dispensed in Memorial Park from three wine stations and three beer stations. There will be more than 60 different wines available, as well as the products of Manitoba's Fort Garry Brewing Company, Farmery Estate Brewery and Vancouver's Granville Island Brewing.
"This is a big draw and we want to have something for everyone in the city," says Grande. "We wanted to react to what we were hearing from the community. Our weekends have been warm and 40,000 people are thirsty."
To accompany the drinks, the festival is introducing what it has dubbed Food Truck Wars. A dozen of the city's best mobile dining options will battle for best-of-fest honours. Some of them will be familiar to Broadway-area workers who lunch outside during summer weeks.
"Not many Winnipeggers, unless they work downtown, have experienced the food trucks," says Grande. "We want to get a dozen of the best food trucks and have them compete to see who's got the best food. We hope tens of thousands of Winnipeggers will come out to pick a champion."