Edmonton International Street Performers Festival History, Hi-Jinx and Hilarity

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The Edmonton International Street Performers Festival was the first of its kind in North America. It is known worldwide for its amazing artists and generous audiences. Since 1984, almost four million people have played in the streets and shared a laugh with us at StreetFest. That's a lot of smiles and chuckles.

  1. Co-founded by Sheldon Wilner and Dick Finkel in 1985, the event was a real gift from the SUMMERFEST Organization
  2. Dick Finkel, Producer of StreetFest 1985 – 1999
  3. Shelley Switzer, Artistic Producer 2000 – current
  4. Attendance SO FAR – 4 million visitors over 26 years
  5. First of its kind in North America
  6. One of the most emulated festival models around the planet
  7. Proud to be programmed with 70% Canadian artists annually
  8. Brand new artists OR new work has been brought to you via the Festival over the years from – Flyin’ Bob, Checkerboard Guy, Lynette Maurice and Cindi Zuby, Heather D. Swain, Cross Walk Theatre, Annie Dugan, John Ullyatt, Leona Brausen, Jeff Haslam, Davina Stewart, Dana Smith, Flying Debris, Patti Stiles, Wendy Vousden, Darrin Hagen, Linda Karenko and Zandra Bell...the list goes on
  9. Until 2008 had only ONE staff member year round
  10. Over 200 volunteers help work this event during the Festival dates
  11. Artists have come from Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, Macedonia, Russia, Thailand, England, Portugal, Spain, Brazil, USA (Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, New York, Massachusetts, Florida, Michigan, Maine), and across Canada (Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC)
  12. Alberta Artists have come from Edmonton, White Court, Rochfort Bridge, Sylvan Lake, Red Deer, Calgary, Medicine Hat, Canmore and Banff
  13. 1989 – First Late Night Madness
  14. 1992 – First Women in Comedy
  15. 1994 – 10th anniversary Festival and the spontaneous CLOWN AQUACADE in the City Hall Fountains
  16. Hospital and care facility visits happen every year of the Festival. The year 2000 brought us the more fully developed COMEDY CARES program; sponsored by EPCOR and now in communities in Edmonton, Northern and Southern Alberta and in BC
  17. StreetFest has a magician as our Board of Directors President
  18. Lifetime Members are Lynette Maurice, David Abbey, Dick Finkel and Sheldon Wilner
  19. Jacquie Paul has performed at 25 of the 27 Festivals
  20. 4 million visitors…averaging 42.5 smiles per visit…that is approximately 170 MILLION smiles
  21. This is Shelley Switzer’s 23rd Festival (first 11 as a volunteer, 12 as the Artistic Producer)
  22. This spot is reserved for LOVE 22
  23. We’ve featured jugglers, magicians, musicians, stilt walkers, clowns, diabolo, rolla bolla, catapult, cabbage catchers, aerialists, comedians, dancers, balancers, tight rope, slack rope, comedy troupes, street theatre artists, mime, roving comedians, living statues, installations, characters, circus acts, fire eaters and really amazing street artists from the world over
  24. Mike Rogiani of Royal Treats Ice Cream has been a sweet treat vendor and supporter of our Festival for 25 years
  25. The Downtown Business Association has been a sponsor for 26 years
  26. The Festival’s popular Be Your Own Busker programming has given thousands of audience members the opportunity to learn the tricks of the trade from the best on the street…from juggling to diabolo, hip hop dance to facepainting.
  27. StreetFest brought one of the first and largest flash mobs to Edmonton via Australia's Common People Dance Project in 2010.