Photo: Also during the Buskerfestyou can see the Canadian Silver Starlets, an all female aerial acrobatics show full of glam, glitz and glitter. Photo courtesy of David DiUbaldo.
Have A Cup Of Joe With Joe – Busker Fun & Celebrating Pride In August
Biz X magazine has had a busy year so far celebrating our 20th year of publishing, while also covering the many events marking the 125th birthday of our City and the 150th birthday of our Country.
The weekend of August 11, 12 & 13 is turning out to be just as jam-packed. No less than five major events are set to take place in Windsor and Essex County that weekend — all Biz X sponsored events: “Windsor ComiCon,” “Woofa~Roo Pet Fest,” “Kingsville Folk Music Festival” and “Windsor-Essex Pride Fest” — and the “LiUNA 625 Walkerville Buskerfest.” The latter two events are the subject of this article (for the other events listed see various pages in this issue and for even more check pages 16&17).
The “LiUNA 625 Walkerville Buskerfest” presented by the Willistead Restaurant enters its second year, after a highly successful debut in 2016. Performers from Australia, the UK and across Canada, converge on Wyandotte Street East in Windsor to delight and amaze audiences.
The 2017 edition of the Buskerfest features interactive fun provided by the new Windsor Circus School, a huge chalk mural and the Jr F.I.R.E. Challenge obstacle course. Lots of patios providing goodies and music stages ensure the excitement never ends. Visit the Busker Hall of Fame and enjoy late night shows at the Walkerville Brewery.
“We’ve got our work cut out for us to top last year!” exclaims Mark Lefebvre, festival Executive Director. And “Walkerville is a picture perfect setting.”
Kyle Sipkens, the festival’s new Artistic Director, agrees: “Walkerville is already a thriving entertainment destination with incredible patios, unique businesses, and a keen focus on supporting local.”You may recognize Mark and Kyle’s names — or at least their faces. They’re usually 9’ tall and appear as the Stilt Guys annually at festivals and events throughout Windsor Essex and travel the world.
As professional Buskers themselves, they’re thrilled to be the producers of Windsor’s own Buskerfest and they are also connected to the Windsor Circus School in the old YMCA location on Victoria Avenue. Aspiring buskers now have a great facility to develop their talents and, during the weekend, young audience members are able to kick-start their Busker career at workshops conducted by the new school.
Getting back to the festival details, Wyandotte Street East will close between Devonshire Road and Lincoln Road for this year’s nine world class performers. There is no admission charge for the street acts, but the performers rely on the generosity of spectators when they pass the hat.
For full biographies of the performers, event locations, times and other associated information check out their website: WalkervilleBuskers.com.
Moving onto my second profiled event, since 1992 when the LGBTTQ community hosted their first Pride festival in Windsor, this Ontario non-profit organization has grown into one of the most influential festivals in this region.
As found on their Facebook page, “The Windsor-Essex Pride Fest aims to promote equality and diversity through all of its campaigns including its annual Pride festival. The weekend Pride festival uses theatre, music, art and entertainment to raise awareness of LGBTTQ issues.”
According to David Lenz, “Windsor-Essex Pride Fest”
President, “Our past 25 years has seen a strengthening of both our community and the region overall. Today, we are poised to act as a catalyst for further change for an even better future by building social connections though our year-round initiatives.”
This growth is evidenced by their yearly publication “Come Out & Play Guide,” the official LGBTTQ directory; “Diversity Means” Program (as expressed through art, photography and poetry); comedy shows; the summertime “Spritz Boat Cruise,” wine tours and a number of other events throughout the year.
After the “Pride Festival” outgrew the comfy confines of Charles Clark Square in 2006, it moved to the Riverfront Festival Plaza in 2007 and has remained there ever since.
Now, the “Windsor-Essex Pride Fest” is nearly a week long celebration, kick-started this year on Wednesday August 9 at 11 a.m. with the raising of the Pride Flag at City Hall by the Mayor. A yearly favourite of this week is free bowling for everyone on Thursday night — gay and straight (families, allies etc) — at Rose Bowl Lanes; Friday night features the “Glitter Ball” at The Rondo at 63 Pitt Street East. And this year some of the LGBTTQ community are introducing lawn bowling for the first time as an event, at Jackson Park.
Things shift into high gear on Saturday August 12 when the community hosts their annual dance and entertainment show featuring both local and out of town talent, and world class DJs. Dozens of vendors set up to sell their wares and, of course, plenty of food and drinks are available.
On Sunday August 13, the traditional parade begins at 11 a.m. at Elliott and Ouellette and proceeds north on Ouellette Avenue to the Riverfront Festival Plaza where ceremonies will ensue, followed by an afternoon of revelry, grub and beverages.
Information on these and other “Pride Fest” events can be found on their website.