In June 2011, the carnival announced a major change to its financial support. Sun Life Financial, a long-time sponsor, signed on to be the title sponsor for the next 3 years resulting in a name change to the Sun Life Financial Waterloo Busker Carnival and a subtle logo change. Busker carnival chair, Randy Warren, was quoted in the Chronicle as saying: "It gives us (the volunteer committee) a little more comfort and stability for the ongoing survival of the carnival. Year by year, we would wonder if we could raise enough funds. We now know we have a good solid base for the next 3 years and we can go gung ho right after the end of next year's event because we have that funding in place."
With its media sponsors, The Record, CTV Kitchener, and the Rogers Radio Group (CHYM-FM, KIX-106, 570 News), the brand refresh and new, integrated marketing program packed a punch. In addition, the carnival enhanced its social media interaction in Facebook and joined the world of Twitter.
The carnival ran from August 25th to the 28th. Along with Festival of Fools (the carnival's Wednesday evening gala fundraising event) and Sunday afternoons finale, the Family Vaudeville Show, the carnival featured a new way to open the carnival. Nigel Blackstorm the heavy metal magician hosted Opening Ceremonies. Hundreds of Busker fans came down to Waterloo Public Square to be part of Nigels largest air band in the Region of Waterloo. Brenda Halloran, the Mayor of Waterloo, Randy Warren, the carnivals Chair, and Kevin Dougherty, President of Sun Life Financial, joined in the air band fun in what turned out to be an exciting launch to yet another amazing 4 days of incredible busker performances.
Buskers for the 2011 carnival included:
Aerial Angels, Michigan- aerial acrobatics, fire eating, trapeze
Art$ Fortune, Windsor - fun-filled, "robotic" fortune teller
Benny B, Australia - circus skills, bizarre stunts, comedy
Chalkmaster Dave, Toronto - chalk artistry extraordinaire
CiRcO LoCo, Quebec - stilts, free standing ladder, fire, juggling, acrobatics
Ernest the Magnifico, Australia - comedy, stunts, pogo
Grant Goldie, Ireland - juggling, balance, manipulation
Jason Escape, Massachusetts - escape, comedy
Les Vitamens, Quebec - acrobatics, balance, improv, comedy, circus stunts
Mme Bao and Cosmo - ventriloquism, puppetry
Nigel Blackstorm, New York City - magic, music, air band, comedy
Privy People, Toronto - ultimate in portable washroom experience
Stilt Guys, Windsor - stilt stunts and comedy
Street Circus, Winnipeg - acrobatics, contortion, clowning, circus stunts
Throw 2 Catch, Montreal - circus stunts, acrobatics, comedy
Street Circus (Dan and Kim) were back again this year so busker fans could see the newlyweds show. They were supposed to perform it in 2010 but Kim was injured and Dan performed solo. They have a very special connection to Waterloo because this is where Dan surprised Kim (a former Aerial Angel) in 2009 and proposed to her.
This was Les Vitamens 2nd appearance at the carnival (their first was in 2005) but it wouldnt be their last. This busker fan favourite would return for the 25th anniversary in 2013.
Chalkmaster Dave was making a back-to-back appearance after displaying his incredible chalk artistry the year prior in 2010. He would be back in 2013 for the carnival's 25th.