Festival City Rocks in September with the Return of the Accordion, Salsa Dancing & Indie Films

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Edmonton events this month include the Accordion Extravaganza Festival, Cubamemucho Salsa Festival, and the 23rd Edmonton International Film Festival

One-of-a-kind internationally-infused entertainment is at the heart of Festival City in September including the Edmonton Accordion Extravaganza, Cubamemucho, and the Edmonton International Film Festival.

It may have taken a nosedive after The Beatles, but it's back again and it's really started to boom," says Enes Upright. She's talking about a musical instrument that is front and centre at a popular Edmonton festival this month: the Accordion Extravaganza Festival. Across North America, in places such as famed Knott's Berry Farm, accordion festivals have been making a comeback. In Edmonton, the accordion is going strong and getting stronger.
"This is the 14th year of the festival," says Upright, who along with Gloria Grainger is festival coordinator. The origins of the now large-scale festival were humble. "A group of us got together one night and talked about putting on a polka-fest. Then we realized we didn't want the accordion to just be known as a polka instrument," says Upright.

For the competitions that take place on the Saturday of the Edmonton event, music styles range from polkas to classical. There's a wide array of the types of people who enter too. "Our youngest person competing is six years old," Upright says. "Our oldest is in their 80s." 
Aside from the competitions, the Accordion Extravaganza Festival also features a trade show, open stage, a workshop, Saturday dance with The Cimarrons and a concert by the acclaimed Ulster Accordion Band (which has played at the Disney World Christmas Parade, Branson Missouri Veterans Concert and Juno Beach ceremonies, France). Accordion Extravaganza Festival runs from September 25-27, 2009. For more information go to: http://www.edmontonaccordion.com .

Also happening September 25 - 27, 2009 is a Salsa-dancing frenzy: Cubamemucho, the internationally renowned Cuban Dance Festival, makes its auspicious first-time appearance in North America at Edmonton's Mayfield Inn and Conference Centre. There are over 20 professional dance workshops to help you learn and master the saucy, sexy art of Afro-Cuban body movement. (Those who are good enough will be welcomed to compete for a chance to qualify in the 2010 World Rueda Championship finals, held in Munich!) Cubamemucho happens in Edmonton from September 25-27, 2009. For more information go to: http://www.cubamemucho.salsaddiction.com .

From September 25 thru October 3, 2009, the Edmonton International Film Festival, in its 23rd year, uncovers up-and-coming directors, writers and producers of the silver screen. Shining a light on fantastic international works, EIFF is about independent films and the people who make them. (In the past, guests have included John Waters, Norman Jewison, Werner Herzog, Deepa Mehta and more.) Before the Edmonton festival begins for real (or is that "reel"?), check out "Twin Peeks," the two-night free outdoor film screening, September 17th and 18th. Each night's film will be projected onto a three-story inflatable screen downtown at Sir Winston Churchill Square. Single-handedly, EIFF is returning Edmonton to glory days of the old-fashioned drive-in… without the car, though. (This is a BYOC event: Bring-Your-Own-Chair.) Edmonton International Film Festival, September 25 - October 3, 2009. For more information go to: http://www.edmontonfilmfest.com .

For more information about Edmonton festivals and events, visit http://www.festivalcity.ca .

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Jenifer Christenson
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