The long weekend is the best time to decompress and be lazy. On this Heritage Day weekend, an old-fashioned family day picnic is just what the doctor ordered.
Visionary Centre for the Performing Arts, formerly Visionary College, is hosting their inaugural Picnic at the Park on Monday, Aug. 1 at Lions Park.
This free community event features bands, children’s entertainment, roving Disney princesses and action heroes, bouncy castles, a market and food trucks.
Martha Livingstone, creative director for the picnic, explains that the idea was born after staff reminisced about their participation in St. Albert’s 150th anniversary picnic that attracted well over 2,000 people.
“We talked about the picnic idea and decided we wanted to keep it going,” said Livingstone.
Since Visionary College is transitioning and changing its name to Visionary Centre for the Performing Arts, the picnic was also an ideal attraction to showcase its talent – past and present.
Carolina Del Rio, Visionary events and entertainment manager, noted that the college was expanding its curriculum and necessitated a name change.
“We’re adding acting and dance programs and a name change seemed more applicable to those things,” said Del Rio.
The picnic kicks off at 11:30 a.m. with a young children’s showcase that brings together Samantha Wilson, Sammi Davidson, Lyra Padden and Rotary scholarship winners Marija and Sophia Chvojka.
At 12:15 p.m., a cast of costumed Disney princesses – Elsa, Anna, Jasmine and Pocahontas – sing a couple of favourites such as Colours of The Wind and Let It Go before mingling with crowds and creating photo opportunities for families.
Capes and Crowns theatrical production of PAW Patrol, a four-actor production on the Canadian animated television series takes over the stage at 12:30 p.m.
PAW Patrol follows the adventures of a boy named Ryder who leads a pack of dogs on rescue missions across the city.
Starting right at 1 p.m., Livingstone’s own four-piece pop-rock band Marty’s Party kicks it up a notch with their original versions of classic and indie rock.
“We’re very energetic and we have an edgy sound. Marty’s Party is fun, uptempo and it wants to make you move,” Livingstone said adding the repertoire combines everything from Joan Jett and Eurythmics to Adele and Lady Gaga.
Aryn Connell, a Grade 12 student at Victoria School for the Performing Arts, whips up a few songs of smooth jazz before country-rock vocalist Leah Durelle takes command at 2 p.m.
Newly returned after performing with Darcy Stamp at the Calgary Stampede, Durelle comes to the picnic with a set of high-powered vocals and a tight backup band.
At 2:45 p.m. the Rebecca Lappa Trio with Evan Stewart on drums and Madi Myhre on bass complement the variety show with a folk-pop set.
“Rebecca is a prolific singer-songwriter with a unique voice. She has so many different styles of music, that I can’t compare her to anyone. The best I can say is that she tells stories like Joni Mitchell,” said Livingstone.
Lappa just recorded an album with Russell Broom, producer for Jann Arden’s albums. During her 45-minute set she will perform various songs from the 11-track Reckless Heart slated for release in late fall.
Known primarily as a folk artist, Lappa is transitioning to an alt pop rock direction.
“While I attended the MacEwan composition program, my style of writing changed and I’ve grown as a vocalist in belting and other stuff. I started writing to this new music and it changed the sound I created,” Lappa said.
Grade 10 Paul Kane student Taylor Hambly brings her pop essence to the table with a couple of songs she recorded in Los Angeles. And finally Jake Perry, an associate of award-winning Jessy Moss, closes the afternoon at 3:45 p.m. with his low-key Tom Waits style.
Livingstone added, “We hope you can bring the family and spend some time together to celebrate our event. From the response we’ve had, there will be lots of people and we hope to keep it going.”
Bring a lawn chair or blanket, mosquito repellent and pack a picnic lunch or sample the fare from on-site food trucks.
Parking is available in the lot between Lions Park and the curling club. You can access the parking lot at the intersection of TachĂ© Street and Sir Winston Churchill Avenue.