Several festivities are planned tonight including music, a market, food, art and dance, in Winnipeg's famous Exchange District.
Starting back in 2017, the event only included the Alleyway Market. Which was a farmer's market-style festivity with food vendors, crafters and vintage sellers, and a whole variety of other goods.
The Exchange District BIZ had been receiving questions from the public about whether or when the festival would return now that the pandemic restrictions have lessened.
"We've had a lot of requests over the last couple of years during the pandemic like 'are you bringing Alleyways back?' and 'when is Alleyways coming back?' So, we are relaunching it this year and we are also adding three more activations just to give some more structure to the event. We really wanted to spread it throughout the community," says Marketing and Communications Coordinator at Exchange District BIZ, Jessi Schmidtke.
In previous years, Alleyways had spin-off events but none of them were permanent. Schmidtke hopes to keep these new Alleyways activated in the future and add new ones as well. The new Alleyways include Sounds, Lounge and Gallery.
"We've created four core alley activations, so hopefully moving forward we'll have these four and then even expand on that, like we'd love to have members in the community and business work with us as well to create even more alley."
Schmidtke hopes for new events in the future but also reflects all of the work that goes into planning Alleyways in the Exchange.
"It's a lot of community collaboration. We've partnered with neighbourhood businesses and organizations to basically host each alley. We have Send and Recieve Festival, they are an experimental audio festival, so they're doing programming for Alleyway Sounds throughout the summer. We've also partnered with Art Space to host Alleyways Lounge. Alleyways Market is hosted by Lucky Girl Pop Up, so that's a really fun one as well. For our first iteration of Alleyways Gallery, we have Bevvy Teyems, a local custom art frame shop in the neighbourhood who is doing a life drawing programming."
There is also the legal work that needs to be done before any further action can be taken. Getting permits, noise permits and permission from building owners, as alleyways are private property.
It is anticipated that Alleyways in the Exchange will have a great turnout as things are starting to go back to normal.