Festivals fill the streets
Art City parade returns to share creativity with community
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Street festivals made a triumphant return to Winnipeg this weekend as communities came together once more to move toward a post-pandemic city.
The annual Art City parade had a sizeable turnout and brought smiles to the faces of children and adults alike, with participants dressed in costumes and holding placards aloft while manoeuvring floats down the streets of West Broadway.
Josh Ruth, Art City’s managing director, said the annual parade — which has been on hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic — is the organization’s flagship event.
“The parade goes back to almost the beginning of Art City. The folks involved at the time thought, ‘We have all this great art, great collaboration, great community that exists inside our doors, why not take it out into the street?’” Ruth said.
“The theme was the Potluck Parade. We haven’t had a parade in two years. When we thought about what we were most excited about, the idea of the potluck came to mind, because it symbolizes gathering together and sharing food, which is something we do at Art City every day.”
Ruth said that a key idea behind the parade is to show Art City participants just how far their creativity can go — each float idea started with a brainstorming session and a design drawing from a participant, who then gets to see it become a reality in the streets of their community.
“Everyone was just so thrilled to be able to be back together again… And we’re thrilled with how it came together,” Ruth said.
“Leading up to the parade every year there’s always some anxiety about what the weather is going to do. The weather held, it was beautiful and not too hot.”
Also in attendance for the parade was Matthew Sveinson, who brought along his nine-year-old daughter.
“It’s awesome. We need more stuff like this in the community. It’s a great event for kids to participate in,” Sveinson said.
“I used to work in children’s programming. Now I do social work where I help parents kind of deal with their problems. Even still, I always do arts and crafts with the families.”
Meanwhile, more than a hundred people were gathered at Central Park for a community block party, where a full stage was erected and the sound of traditional Indigenous singing and drumming filled the air.
There was a free barbecue and a free auction, including live music throughout the afternoon. Kids played on nearby play structures, while across the street people lined up at Knox Community Kitchen.
Albert Mcleod arrived in Winnipeg Tuesday to visit family and just happened to be walking by when the block party drew him in. He said he had never attended an event like it before in his life.
“I was going to go to Portage Place for a coffee and I walked by, so I figured I would stop in to see what’s going on,” Mcleod said.
“I’m going to stick around… This is actually my first time at an event like this. I’m from up north, Norway House.”
Nearby on Ellice Avenue, the street was closed to traffic in both directions from Langside Avenue to Sherbrooke Street, for an annual street festival, which kicked off at 1 p.m.
Also held this weekend was Patio Fest, which is organized by the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ.
The festival was created during the pandemic to help support local businesses, but was popular enough that it is being turned into an annual event.
Patio Fest will see live music and specials at more than 20 downtown patios from Friday to Sunday.
Ryan Thorpe likes the pace of daily news, the feeling of a broadsheet in his hands and the stress of never-ending deadlines hanging over his head.