You’d think that after 12 years of running Kaleido Family Arts Festival, organizers would run out of new ideas, but happily there are plenty of new features to experience from Sept 15-17.

This year, the festival starts at 5 pm instead of 7 pm. Christy Morin, artistic director, describes it as a “soft start” and said food trucks will be on site.

New this year is Edmonton Pride Festival’s participation in the lantern parade. The Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts is offering lantern-making workshops on Friday night, and anyone is welcome to join the parade at 9:45 pm at The Carrot.

Edmonton Pride Festival is participating in the lantern parade this year. | Epic Photography

“There’s something healing about being with people and lanterns and finding your tribe,” said Christy.

Giant puppets will be in the parade and present throughout the festival. The parade features a puppet dragon, a big hug monster, and a cha-cha couple. Christy Morin and programming assistant Allie Morin said “old puppets of yesteryear” will be on Paraiso Tropical’s balcony, making comments to passersby, while Duffy’s Puppets will perform in the Imaginarium Mobile Wagon.

Those who love interactive experiences can build lego kits at the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts.

“They have instructors to help out,” said Christy.

Or, participate in a project called Colour Me Quack and help colour a giant papier-mâché duck.

“It starts out white and festival participants help colour it in,” said Lauren Bohnet, installation coordinator.

Try gesture drawing and trace someone’s face on a Plexiglas panel. Going with the festival’s theme of “Fall in Love with Kaleido,” festivalgoers can fill in a giant heart wall with thoughts of what they love.

Grab a partner and trace their face on a Plexiglas wall. | Epic Photography

For those who wish to simply see art, there’s plenty. Bohnet said a fall installation will include “lights strung around trees and a handcrafted leaf around each light.”

Artists will also be on site. Watch Ashley Herrington do a live painting on glass, while graffiti artists Don Nicholas and Jenny Cortez create street art on the Avenue Theatre on 118 Avenue.

Music lovers will be in for a treat, starting Friday night with a performance from iconic blues artist Eric Bibb, who headlines the main stage at 10:15 pm. Bibb also plays Saturday at 12:30 with guitarists Gus Butcher, Peter Nolan, Joe Nolan, and Charlie Jacobson.

Listen to plenty of jazz and other great music during the festival weekend. | Epic Photography

“Some really great funk groups are coming,” added Christy. Additionally, folk music artists Helene Blum & Harald Haugaard are travelling from Denmark to perform.

The festival also features the Canadian premiere of composer Vivian Fung, who grew up in Spruce Ave and studied at The Juilliard School. Rafael Hoekman, a cellist from Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, will play the composition on the rooftop of the Quick Bite building on 118 Avenue and 92 Street.

“[Fung] wrote it based on her experience of alcohol poisoning,” said Allie.

Prefer jazz? An alleyway will be mostly dedicated to that genre the whole weekend, with an option of ordering food, tapas, appetizers, alcoholic, and nonalcoholic beverages. Purchase items using cash, debit, or credit.

And look for a flashmob of 16 people: they’ll sing and dance to four different songs and music from Beauty and the Beast.

Or even play one of the eight pianos sitting on street corners along 118 Avenue. The pianos are part of an initiative and art installation where pianos are placed in public places for anyone to play.

“If you’re interested in painting pianos, let us know,” said Christy.

Play one of the eight pianos sitting on street corners along 118 Avenue. | Epic Photography

While the festival is free, paying what you can to enter is appreciated and encouraged.

“Even a toonie from everyone would make a huge difference,” said Christy. Tax receipts are issued for donations $10 and above.

Final scheduling details will be available at


Sept 15-17

Along 118 Avenue from 90 to 95 Street

Friday: 5-11 pm

Saturday: Noon-11 pm

Pancake breakfast: 10 am–noon. Fireworks at 11 pm.

Sunday: Noon-6 pm

Featured Image: This year, festivalgoers can fill in a giant wall with thoughts of what they love. | Epic Photography