Continuing an impressive 18-year run, the Kaleido Family Arts Festival is returning to Alberta Avenue this month. 

Starting on Friday, Sept.15, the three day festival is a free, family-friendly event that will include music, theatre, visual arts, street performers, dancing, artisan markets, and food trucks.

Christy Morin, General Manager and Artistic Director, explains the festival delivers an experience that is not only diverse but completely unique. 

“We don’t narrow in on only one area and discipline of the arts. We actually bring all of the arts together to see how they play and interplay together, with audience and artist and artist becoming audience and audience becoming artist,” says Morin.

“Being able to have interaction is really important in the development of what Kaleido brings,” she adds.

Morin notes the festival not only encourages interaction between performer and spectator, but also interaction between performances and the surrounding community itself

“We shut down five blocks of the avenue, from 90 to 95 Street, and we use backs of alleyways, parks, tops of buildings, back spaces of streets, and we have performances and such on the street ‘al fresco,'” she says. “It’s a really lovely mix of the arts and community.”  

Morin explains the direct connection to community was essential to the foundation of the festival itself, as its origins are rooted firmly in the Alberta Avenue district.

“We were just a group of grassroots artists living in the neighbourhood. [We] started meeting in each other’s homes and loving this neighbourhood but sort of realizing what a stigma that crime had on the beauty of the avenue and the businesses,” says Morin. 

“So we were like ‘maybe we can find a way to bring beauty and arts to the neighbourhood.’ So we decided to do a festival,” she adds.

Growing in both scope and attendance, Morin states the festival has increased from 300 visitors in its first year to over 40, 000 visitors currently. Morin explains this growth is due in large part not only to dedicated performers but also volunteers.

“Volunteers is how we all started, I started out as a volunteer presenter,” she says. “Volunteers are the heart of Kaleido, and this year’s theme is ‘Hearts a Bustin,’ which is a type of strawberry. That’s why you’ll see the heart with strawberries bursting out of it this year in our logo.”

Morin explains the festival requires 420 volunteers, with a variety of roles needing to be filled in order to make the weekend as successful as possible. She adds that volunteers are still needed and welcome for this month’s upcoming event.

“We have a huge breadth of need for volunteers,” she says. “What we ask is for a minimum of a six hour shift and hopefully to a maximum of four or five shifts, if possible, with us on the weekend. So it would be great to see people starting to fill up those places and positions.”

Morin explains anyone wanting to volunteer can go to The Carrot Community Arts Coffeehouse or visit the festival’s website. She adds the website will also include a GoFundMe page as the festival is currently 40 percent lower than it normally is in terms of donations and grants.

“[The festival] is completely free, and if you were actually going to a festival like this paying, it would probably cost about 120 dollars per person for the amount of talent and artists and experience you are receiving,” she says.

Kaleido Family Arts Festival
September 15 – 17, 2023

The Carrot Community Arts Coffeehouse
9351 118 Avenue