A few blocks in the West End are going to be closed off next month for a celebration.
The 15th annual Ellice Street Festival, organized by the West End Cultural Centre, is taking place on June 6 and 7. On June 6, there will be a kickoff concert, free of charge, at the WECC (586 Ellice Ave.) from 7 to 9 p.m. Süss and JD and the Sunshine Band will be performing.
On June 7, the festival will be outside on Ellice Avenue from Sherbrook Street to Langside Street from noon to 4 p.m. The festival is largely focused on music, so there will be four musical acts performing that day — Lindsey White, Chez Willi, Urban Street Funk, and Paradize Band.
"Everything at the festival is free. The only thing that costs money is the community barbecue, and it’s the small fee of 25 cents for a hot dog and juice box," Jessica Dressler, WECC community outreach and volunteer co-ordinator, said.
Something new at the Ellice Street Festival will be the mini car town, provided by Manitoba Public Insurance, which is a little course kids can drive cars in for 20 minutes, learning the rules of the road.
Other activities expected to be at the festival are bouncy houses, a carnival, crafts, and community information tables.
"Different groups in the neighbourhood will set up tables with giveaways and information," Dressler said.
Community organizations expected to set up tables at the festival include the Winnipeg Public Library and the WRENCH (Winnipeg Repair Education and Cycling Hub).
"They can do (bike) tune-ups," Dressler said.
Although the festival is located in the West End and intended to celebrate living and working in the West End, people from other parts of the city are welcome to attend.
"The community has changed a lot in 15 years, but it still has a lot of that negative perception," Dressler said. "We welcome people all over the city, but it’s a local festival. It highlights services and activities that are happening right here in our neighbourhood."
Dressler said the festival allows people to see the positive things that have happened in the neighbourhood, to create an environment for people to meet their neighbours.
The Ellice Street Festival is in need of volunteers to help with setup, tear-down, and general assistance during the festival. Those interested in volunteering can contact Dressler at Jessica@wecc.ca or call 204-783-6918.