Street festival gets Okotoks grooving
Entertainment: First Saturday featuring local musicians and art on Aug. 3
By: Tammy Rollie
| Posted: Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 11:28 am
Senses will come alive for those strolling the streets of Okotoks this Saturday.
Live music, mouth-watering food and a display of colourful art will fill a block of Olde Towne Okotoks in the second First Saturday street festival this summer.
Those in attendance can check out the art market featuring the work of local artists, youngsters can enjoy crafts and games and shoppers can browse local shops and restaurants throughout the day.
One of the biggest draws will be the six musicians performing outside all day.
“We have a whole day of music planned and there is some real top level musicians,” said Okotoks Cultural and Historical Services team leader Allan Boss. “We’ve got folk, roots, some country, some jazz, as well as country and pop. We’ve got it all.”
Okotoks musician Alex Enman’s musical skills do not fit that of a typical street festival. The 19-year-old will belt out opera, classical and musical theatre tunes.
“Musical theatre is really expressive,” she said. “Your emotions are so much more intense and it’s more vulnerable. It draws people in more because they can relate to all the emotions you are expressing.”
Enman has performed at recitals, fundraisers, school theatre groups, First Saturday events and this month’s Buskerfest, and is looking forward to another outdoor venue.
“It’s good to have live music in the community,” she said. “Outside you can be heard down the street and people get curious and a group will just form.”
Country rock singer Abbie Thurgood said First Saturdays offers a small town feeling she has grown to love. She performed at the July First Saturday and was invited back this weekend.
“First Saturday is a really good idea,” she said. “The whole family gets to have a show. I get little kids dancing around and trying to sing along. It’s a nice change from the bar scene.”
The 19-year-old is becoming a familiar face in Okotoks. She performs at local pubs and fundraisers in the area and won the Buskerfest competition earlier this month.
She is pursuing a career in country music and completed recording her first album with the help of Dolly Parton’s producer Kent Wells. “Flameless Fire” will be released in the fall.
The lineup of musicians also includes High River country musician Tanya Ryan, folk/roots group Chisel Creek, Turner Valley country/rock/Christian singer/songwriter Jay Church and former Canadian Idol finalist Jenn Beaupre of Calgary.
Boss said a few changes will be made to this weekend’s event, compared to the July First Saturday. For instance, the art market will be relocated from the Okotoks Art Gallery lawn onto the street.
Boss said he hopes this will improve the visibility of the event and draw even more people to the day of arts and entertainment.
“When you looked down towards this area you saw a stage but if there wasn’t someone performing on it all the time there was nothing to be attracted to,” he said. “We decided it’s a street festival and we are going to shift everything onto the street.”
North Railway from Lineham to Alberta Avenue will close at 8 a.m. on Aug. 3 and shortly after the Okotoks Rotary Club will serve a pancake breakfast. The proceeds will support High River residents affected by the flood.
“We’ve got a lot more activity going on at this one than we did the last one,” said Boss. “We had about 500 people wandering around during the day and almost 200 people came through the gallery. This one will be more successful in that it should attract more people.”
Boss said Cultural and Historical Services took over First Saturdays this year with a plan to focus more on art and entertainment in Olde Towne Okotoks by the Okotoks Art Gallery and Okotoks Museum and Archives.
“We’ve got some great buildings here, great businesses, we’ve got a great little corner to shut down, there are washrooms, an art gallery, a museum and all of these things people can go and see if they don’t feel like standing on the street,” he said.