Downtown BIZ Fuels 15 New Events with $78K Injection

You can’t complain there’s nothing to do downtown, because $78,000 can provide for quite a bit of fun.

Through its Host It Downtown program, the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ has unveiled 15 new events to attract an estimated 56,000 more people to the city’s core.

“50 festivals already run in the downtown, attracting well over 950,000 people annually, generating economic and social activity, activating our streets, and giving Winnipeggers great reasons to come downtown,” said Stefano Grande, executive director of the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ.

“Host It Downtown looks to build on this energy and attract even more visits into the heart of our city, with a greater focus on evening and winter.”

The 15 new events will stimulate an estimated $1.5 million in economic spending in the city, and support close to 80 downtown businesses.

What’s new?

  • BBQ & Blues Festival — Relocated from Shaw Park to Smith Street.
  • Interstellar Rodeo — A three-day music and wine festival, originating in Edmonton, will make its way to downtown Winnipeg and return for a second year in 2016.
  • 2K Dangle — A fun run for hockey fans of all ages and skill levels will see participants run and stickhandle a ball for 2 kilometers starting at Memorial Park then ending at Manitoba’s Legislative Building.
  • Downtown ARTery — Transforming the entire stretch of Graham Ave. from the WAG to 201 Portage into a corridor of light and art.
  • National Elevator Project — As part of FemFest, the National Elevator Project will see a series of short plays performed for audiences inside moving elevators located throughout downtown.
  • Aboriginal Music Week — Aboriginal Music Manitoba Inc. will host for the first-time a series of four free noon hour concerts at Air Canada Park in August to challenge stereotypes about Aboriginal music, people, and events.
  • Peg City St. Patrick’s Day Parade — A sea of people in green will walk, march, and jig throughout downtown in the March of the Emerald Parade.
  • RibFest — This two-day event will feature delicious eats by Smoking Hawg BBQ Co. and music by Slip’D Disc, as well as a silent auction, 50/50 draw, a beer garden, and festival stage at The Forks.
  • Snowflake — Snowflake is a winter urban wellness retreat that will nourish and inspire in the cold prairie winter.
  • Spaceland — A one-day block party inspired by SXSW, Spaceland will take over an urban dead zone and fill it with music and people, facilitating a collective reimagining of public space.
  • Day of the Dead Festival — This traditional Mexican holiday and cultural celebration will feature skull decorating/colouring and skeleton making, Day of the Dead mascots (la Catrin and la Catrina) and invites the public to participate in a Day of the Dead Alter, a way to honour the memory of Mexican ancestors.
  • Salsa Sundays — Salsa Sundays attracts an average 500 plus people, providing Winnipeg residents, young and old and of multiple ethnic backgrounds, the opportunity to dance to the very best recorded Latin dance music, free of charge.
  • Wall-to-Wall II — Wall-to-Wall is a mural and culture festival that sees the creation of indoor and outdoor murals.
  • MEME Winter Electronic Festival — Held on the frozen Red and Assiniboine Rivers, the Winter Electronic Musical Festival, will take place in a geodesic heated dome and feature music performances.

A 15th event isn’t quite ready to be announced yet, the BIZ said.

Applications are still being accepted to receive the first round of Host It Downtown funding through the Downtown BIZ website.