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Alberta Ave's Kaleido fest needs $50,000 to keep going

Come to Alberta Avenue this weekend, for a free family-friendly festival of art, music, dance, artisans and more.
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Kaleido Family Arts Festival runs this weekend on Alberta Avenue, but is in jeopardy of not returning next year. Photo supplied.
Each fall on Alberta Ave., Edmontonians, especially residents of this inner-city neighbourhood, enjoy a free weekend of music, artists, and street performers. The joyous arts festival also features dance, food, markets and more, in parks and alleys, on rooftops and on the Ave. While this year is no exception, with artists from circus to bluegrass to balloon art ready to engage and entertain audiences, the festival is in trouble, and a return next year is not assured.

"We've seen a 25 to 35 per cent increase in costs due to inflation and a 40 per cent grant cut that make it really difficult to continue," said Kaleido Family Arts Festival artistic director Christy Morin, adding the festival has now launched a crowd-funding campaign with hopes of raising $50,000 to cover the shortfall. As of Thursday, the campaign has raised nearly $5,000.

Fundraiser by Arts on the Ave : Help Us Save Kaleido Festival - $50,000 Needed! (gofundme.com)

 Morin says Alberta Avenue is a part of the city that simply has less; a vulnerable neighbourhood that could use the magic and glitter that a festival like Kaleido provides.

"If anybody needs to be uplifted and encouraged, it's this neighbourhood," she says. "Thank you to everyone for offering that hope, especially for those who don't see that every day." 

This year's festival is ready to roll, and includes: a Friday night headlining concert from My Son the Hurricane, a funky, full-bass experience. Saturday night there's Toronto-based alt-rock group Birds of Bellwoods (both shows 8:30 p.m. on the mainstage.) On Saturday morning, Byron and Alfie Myhres (from the street's beloved Myhre's Music) create a 10 a.m. to noon music fest, which will go great with the free pancake breakfast on offer. There's also storytelling and blues from Peter Nolan to follow, and did we mention, it's all free!

Don't miss Cirque Kalabanté Productions, blending African arts in explosive drumming, dance, and acrobatics, and captivating audiences with mesmerizing percussion and mind-blowing precision.

 For more information, visit Kaleidofest.ca. and join the fun within the heart of the Alberta Avenue district (92-95 Street & 118 Avenue).

Morin reminds that the festival is for everyone, with no barriers to entry--no gate, no lock, no tickets--just a celebration of community and art, "but if we don't hit our goal, it will have to take a pause next year. That's a blow for everyone; residents of the area, organizers and entertainers."

Artist Jan Xu describes Kaleido as magic. "It brings positive energy and hope," she said.

Kaleido organizers have hope too, that a successful GoFundMe page and big turnout for this year's festival will mean brighter days ahead.

 

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