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Ellice Street Festival bounces back

14th annual fest is free, other than 25-cent dogs & drinks

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Ellice Avenue will close down from Sherbrook to Langside Streets on June 15 for a free celebration of the West End community. Including two bouncy houses.

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Ellice Avenue will close down from Sherbrook to Langside Streets on June 15 for a free celebration of the West End community. Including two bouncy houses. Photo Store

The season of the bouncy house continues.

The 14th annual Ellice Street Festival kicks off on Fri., June 14 at 7 p.m. with a free community concert at the West End Cultural Centre (WECC) featuring music from Clearvox and the Bahatizz, and Pip Skid.

But the bouncy houses don’t open for business until the outdoor street festival starts at noon Sat., June 15.

"Two of them, every year (they’re a) huge part of the attraction," Jessica Dressler, WECC community outreach and volunteer co-ordinator, said of the popular inflated mayhem-inducing houses.

The street festival will run until 4 p.m. with musical acts Cruel Society, Taylor & Young, Bobby Stahr, and Süss performing each hour in that order.

Attendees bringing bikes can have them securely parked by Bicycle Valet Winnipeg, or tuned up by the UWSA Bike Lab.

The West End Biz will be painting faces, Agnes the Clown will be on the loose, and artisans will be looking for people to join in making dream catchers, key chains, and hats.

All activities are free, Dressler said, except hotdogs and drinks selling until 2 p.m. for 25 cents apiece.

The Spence Neighbourhood Association (SNA), which has organized the kids’ carnival games at the festival for the past 14 years, has teamed with Art City this year to have the kids who attend SNA programming at the Magnus Eliason Recreation Centre make the games themselves.

Ida Bakken, an SNA program co-ordinator, said the children started the carnival game creation process by drawing their ideas and making "small miniature versions of them before they made them out of wood. And they will be painting them."

The annual festival is a community celebration, Dressler said.

"We’re in a neighbourhood that sometimes gets a bad rap — high crime rate, lots of poverty — so this is just a chance for people to celebrate the neighbourhood, people who live here and work here," Dressler said.

It’s also a chance for people from outside the community to experience it, and learn about it.

"It’s a great opportunity to come out to the west-central area and discover it on that day. Then you get to meet people that live in the neighbourhood who do so many interesting things… we’re happy to welcome people from all over the city."

Although the WECC spearheads the festival, Dressler said groups like SNA, the John Howard Society, the University of Winnipeg Students’ Association and the Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre help plan and run it.

The festival is on Ellice Avenue between Sherbrook and Langside Streets, which will be closed to traffic for the day.

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