Street Fair to be biggest yet

The 2017 downtown street fair was a big hit. (Herald file photo)

The Street Fair is back this Saturday, and according to the Prince Albert Downtown Business Improvement District (PADBID), it may just be the biggest ever.

The free event will take place between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m., with an after-party at the Rock Trout Café featuring Whipping Post, a southern rock band from Dania Beach, Florida.

Over 100 vendors are squeezing into the seven blocks between 15th Street and River Street, featuring all sorts of food, goods, arts and entertainment.

“A lot of them are downtown businesses moving their storefronts out into the street, but there are a lot of other businesses that want to be a part of it,” said PADBID executive director Carolyn Carleton.

“Everything is coming down here. From kids to shopping, to whatever people are looking for.”

This year, organizers tried to spread out exhibitors a little bit more so things get less crowded by Memorial Square. That means some businesses will be spilling into the side streets just off of Central Avenue, with the rest of the businesses lining Central on either side.

There will be an abundance of food, including downtown eateries, food trucks and food booths. While downtown restaurants will set up by their storefront, other places to eat will be located by the two main stages. Once again, kids activities, such as bouncy castles, will be in Memorial Square, and pony rides will take over the Historical Museum parking lot.

The farmer’s market will be set up along Central, and jugglers and princesses will be walking around. The front steps of City Hall will be converted into a stage for several dance acts to perform, including an interactive, participatory Cuban Salsa lesson.

Artisans will also be out in force. Guilds from the arts centre will be showing off what they do, while outside Gail Carlson’s gallery artists will be at work while kids will be able to create art with paint and a spinning device for $15. At the On the Avenue Gallery, cookbook author Renee Kohlman will be having an event for her book All the Sweet Things from 1-3 p.m.

As for the stages, the Voices of the North and Jam Street Stages will be back again, with a full lineup of musicians on each stage. SaskExpress is also bringing their show to the street fair, playing at 1:15 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. at the corner of Central and 10th Street West.

Adding SaskExpress is a sign the festival is growing.

“It just adds more variety,” Carleton said.

“We have two established stages, Voices of the north and the Jam Street stage, and they had a great line-up already. We were given this opportunity to have SaskExpress come in, so we can’t say no to something like that. I’ve already seen a lot of chatter on Facebook about how excited people are about it. I think having SaskExpress is a good thing. Musicals are becoming more popular, so having some theatre on the streetscape is going to be good.”

The Street Fair also marks the return of the rubber duck drop. The event, which has been taken on by the Kinsmen Club, is scheduled for 5 p.m. The ducks will be dropped from the Diefenbaker Bridge.

“People are so excited about it,” Carleton said.

“It’s going to be incredible to see all the people lined up along the river bank to see 2,000 rubber ducks thrown into the river. Everything is open until 8. People can come and watch the duck drop then grab something to eat and listen to the bands.”

Previous events have seen thousands come through the downtown. Last year, they estimated 15,000. That was based on counts by the museum, which saw 6,000 people come through the door, and the Gateway Mall.

With so many vendors and activities, this year’s street fair could be even more popular.

“It’s going to be a big one,” Carleton said.

“The city is offering free buses for the day, so people don’t have an excuse. They can get down here. Take the bus, leave your car at home. You won’t have to worry about parking. Downtown has lots of history and walkability. So bringing people down and discovering what’s down here, experiencing downtown, is awesome.

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Be sure to visit the Daily Herald booth by the Arts Centre for a photo booth (The Daily Herald front page – starring you!) and to enter a draw for a chance to win some prizes.