Cotton candy, buskers, music and shopping drew crowds to the 21st annual Lilac Festival despite the cold and rain.
A Calgary favourite, the festival closed down thirteen city blocks along 4th Street SW for the day as tens of thousands of people roamed the booths and took in the festivities.
The festival provided Jacklynn Mannen and the Colours Hair Studio an opportunity to raise money for a charity close to her heart. For a small donation, participants spun a wheel to win prizes from a haircut to beauty baskets.
“The money we raise is going to the Cancer Society,” said Mannen. “I’m a survivor and this is a way to give back both to the community.
“We’re close to raising $1,000. A lot of people are wanting to donate for a good cause. It’s been a great day.”
Hip-hop bagpipes, Latin jazz and classic rock were a few of the musical acts entertaining passersby. According to Sarah Johnson, a first-time festival-goer, this diversity is the real appeal of the Lilac Fest.
“There’s different food, music and people,” said Johnson. “There’s people from all over Calgary, too. It’s not just downtown.”
Although the day was rainy, the cold weather did have a silver lining, according to Katrina Miller.
“Last year you couldn’t even move, it was so busy,” she said.
More than 600 exhibitors were on hand this year for Calgarians to explore.
Last year, under sunnier skies and warmer temperatures, it was estimated that 125,000 people made their way down to the festival.
An official estimate for this year was unavailable.