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Buskers, stuntmen, jugglers in city this weekend

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Entertainer Aidan Orange plans to fascinate spectators Saturday by cracking and spinning a whip that is engulfed in flames and contorting his body to fit inside a tennis racket as part of this weekend’s Streets Alive! Buskerfest in downtown Owen Sound.

“It’s full of laughs, lots of excitement and danger; well apparent danger not real danger,” the Toronto native said of his act Thursday.

The professional performer, whose real name is Aidan Koper, has appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Daily Planet and MuchMusic as well as in the Hollywood film Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium with Dustin Hoffman and Natalie Portman.

But he said there is still a special place in his heart for good old-fashioned street performing.

“I find the audiences are really great,” he said in a telephone interview.

The fifth annual Buskerfest, put on by the Downtown Improvement Area, will begin Friday at 7 p.m. with a 90-minute preview show in front of city hall. It will feature music, theatre, circus acts and more.

The main festival is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. A section of 2nd Ave. E. between 8th and 9th streets will be closed to vehicles for the day’s performances.

Ezra the stilt dancer, whip juggler Seb Whipits, unicyclist and sword swallower Ryan Opar, extreme juggler Scot Free, freestyle variety act The Silly People and aerial artist Angola Murdoch are among the people scheduled to perform Saturday.

Along with the professional performers, the event will also feature local musicians who will be busking on the street as well as area artists.

DIA administrator Carolyn Bigley said Buskerfest is a fun event that allows the organization to showcase Owen Sound’s downtown.

“It’s also an opportunity to see unique performers that they may never get the chance to see again,” she said.

While the event is free, Bigley said people are encouraged to bring money to drop in performers’ guitar cases, buckets and jars.

“The performers really rely on the generosity of their audiences. So bring your loonies and toonies,” she said.

More information on the event is available online at www.downtownowensound.ca.

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