*Update: the masked parade has been moved to Sunday, October 24

Community members are in for a treat with a masked parade around Westwood Community League on Oct. 23 from 1 to 3 p.m. 

The Edmonton International Street Performers Festival are hosting masked parades around the city. 

“We had decided this year that since we couldn’t and weren’t doing the festival [like normal] that we would festivalize in your neighbourhood,” says Shelley Switzer, artistic producer of Edmonton International Street Performers Festival. “If you couldn’t come to us, we were coming to you.”

Roisin Hawkswell, president of Westwood Community League, says community members can either join in the parade wearing their best mask or observe from the sidelines. 

The event allows artists and performers to continue working and to show their talent while accommodating COVID-19 restrictions. 

“The whole idea, though, was to be very COVID-friendly, not only us wearing our masks, but also to surprise the community,” Switzer says. “We didn’t want to invite the world, we wanted to bring something to our community, so we’re excited to be in Westwood this weekend.”

“I think it will be fun,” Hawkswell says. “It will be a way for the community to have some entertainment that’s free and [to] enjoy the weekend.”

Switzer says the parade will feature stilt walkers, jugglers, marshalls, wagon pullers, banner carriers, and other fun characters. There will also be someone riding a penny farthing. The event is sponsored by EPCOR’s Heart and Soul Fund and hosted in partnership with the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues.

In a normal year, street performers in the festival would have 10 days of programming in Churchill Square with live performances. With the COVID-19 restrictions, the Street Performers Festival had to get creative with programming. 

The parade will take two routes around Westwood Community League: one on the south side between 122 and 119 Avenue and the second route on between 122 and 124 Avenue.

Switzer says that everyone will enjoy the parade. 

“We have seen in the neighbourhoods we have visited so many moments of magic, of connection, of happiness, tears of happiness, families having such a great time that this little surprise came into their neighbourhood,” Switzer says.  

Visit edmontonstreetfest.com for more information.