July in Winnipeg means two things: Winnipeg Folk Fest and Winnipeg Fringe Fest.
While the celebrated annual music festival wrapped up its 41st season Sunday, the Fringe starts today.
And we couldn’t be happier.
Me and the Missus love, love, love Fringe. This 10-day celebration of live theatre is a veritable smorgasbord of comedy, drama, puppetry, dance and improv. You name it, there’s a pack of actors doing it.
Performers from 170 companies come from near and far (Africa, Australia and Europe, etc.) to tread the boards on Winnipeg stages.
Every year we pour over the festival guide and pick our favourites. We read the reviews by local media, listen to the buzz on the streets and snap up tickets.
This year, we’re getting a babysitter for ‘Lil Peg and treating ourselves to a couple of date nights. But junior won’t be missing out. Kids Fringe—a roster of free and ticketed performances—is on our must-do list too.
We’ll also be at in the Exchange District’s Old Market Square—the hub of the action—to find out which shows are crowd favourites. The square is a great place to put your ear to the ground and eavesdrop here and there to find out what shows people love.
Talking to fellow theatre geeks is huge part of the fun at Fringe. We get the best show tips from strangers we meet while waiting in line for shows. We Winnipeggers are a friendly bunch, who are happy to chat about shows we’ve seen. Just ask, we’ll tell.
Our local Fringe, which is in its 21st year, is one of the best around. The Exchange District, already a popular spot for meeting friends, becomes a family-friendly party zone for the duration of Fringe. Musicians, buskers, performers in costume, acrobats, magicians, singers and dancers strut their stuff in and around the square.
Even if you don’t go to one, single ticketed performance, take it from the Missus and me, grab your kids and head to the square for an afternoon of free fun.
You’ll guaranteed a great time with the best street entertainment around.
In the meantime, if you need a little Fringe advice, check out the official website here.