There are always new (often brightly coloured) things to see and do at Alberta Avenue's Kaleido Fest, but here's what to expect from people who've been there many times before
By Cory Schachtel | September 13, 2023
The Kaleido Festival on Alberta Arts Avenue may not have the budget or prestige of Edmonton’s internationally renowned festivals, but its hyper-local focus and very wide-ranging lineup somehow brings out more joy per minute. But don’t take our word for it — let a long-time festival organizer explain what it’s like, then see it through the eyes of a child.
In 2019, the Edmonton Short Film Festival partnered with Arts of the Ave, adding yet another artistic discipline to a festival packed full of them. Candace Makowichuk is the film fest’s executive director, and was on Kaleido Fest’s production team for nearly a decade before pitching the idea. This year — in addition to dancers, musicians, puppeteers, jugglers, balloon and visual artists, and people serving up tasty food — you can watch eight short films by independent Alberta filmmakers (September 16, starting at 4 p.m.).
“Both the Deep Freeze and Kaleido Fests are so amazing for embracing so many different arts disciplines. In Edmonton we’ve got the Folk Festival, the Jazz Festival, Street Performers Festival, Fringe Festival, and those are all very specific arts disciplines — whereas Kaleido and Deep Freeze bring so many arts disciplines together. And short films work very well in festivals because they’re short! So we program a half hour’s worth of films which we’re looping in the Alberta Avenue Community Hall.
“But it never ceases to amaze me that, no matter the disciplines, the content is always outstanding, year after year. Of course, my background is more on the visual arts side, so it’s nice for us to connect with the art gallery and visual artists on the street, but there’s nothing like being able to hear live music. The arts have such an amazing capacity to bring people together to celebrate us as human beings, and with Kaleido being free and family-orientated, it doesn’t matter what your background is, or your demographic — anyone can just come and experience it all.”
Like Makowichuk says, the fest is family-oriented, so we asked festival organizers to send a few questions to one of its youngest, long-time (for her age) attendees, and nine-year-old Seren was kind enough to reply.
How long have you lived in the Alberta Avenue Arts District?
All my life. I’m nine and a half.
What do like about living there?
In our neighbourhood, we can meet lots of people that are willing to help out and are very friendly. There are a few awesome kids that I can play with and we can play at the park close by.
When did you first attend Kaleido and what do you remember most about it?
My mom says I was eight months old but I don’t remember anything from then. The first thing I do remember is running into my classmates and teachers there! I also remember all the music.
What’s your favourite part of the festival? What are you looking forward to most this year?
I am really looking forward to the music and hopefully running into lots of our neighbours and friends.
What’s your favourite food at the festival?
I love the poutine but I think that’s at Deep Freeze. But we always go to the Green Onion Cake Man during Kaleido and I love it there!
If you were someday going to take part in the festival, what would you want to do (music, art, dance, face paint, balloon animals, costumes)? Why?
I would do dance because I like to show off my moves and have the spotlight on me!
Hang out with future and current performers (and filmmakers) September 15 to 17. Can’t make it this weekend? Help ensure it all happens again next year by donating today.