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Artfest Ontario

Oakville Waterfront Festival

Gary

by Festival Nomad, Gary McWilliams

Welcome To Oakville

Here we are back west of Toronto and it’s a sunny Sunday morning. This time we are heading for beautiful Oakville and the Oakville Waterfront Festival. This is the home of the Ford Motor Company (Canada) and Appleby College (my old boyhood school). The park we were the festival is held, Coronation Park, is located half way between Oakville and Bronte. Bronte is part of West Oakville and located between downtown Oakville and downtown Burlington. This scenic park is situated right on Lake Ontario. Judi and I had braced ourselves for a traffic snarl and no parking near the park. We were wrong on both counts. The traffic was great and an enterprising business that abutted the park was offering parking spaces for $10. We took a space. We walk along a perimeter fence to the main entrance. Here we were greeted by friendly volunteer who sold us wrist bands for $15 each. We could have purchased them for $13 each if we had bought them on line. From the ticketing area we had to go through turnstiles at which point our bags and folding chairs were searched by security. This had also happened at the Mississauga Waterfront Festival (Click HERE to view article), an unfortunate sign of our times. We were ready to explore the festival…

People Friendly Festival

As soon as we walked through the front gates both Judi and I had the feeling that this was going to be a very people friendly festival. Let me explain. Most of the festivals that we attend are very interesting and a lot of fun, but most are confusing. They generally have little directional signage and there is not a logical flow to follow. The Waterfront Festival, right from the start had lots a signage. It was large, easy to see and easy to read. After entering, our first stop was the information booth. Here we were given a festival guide. We then started down the wide festival walkway. The first set of booths we encountered were corporate information booths. Companies such as Cogeco, Sirius, Buy Direct and Home Depot all had booths along the way. The first show area was “Sue Warden’s Hands On Home”. Unfortunately we had just missed Sue’s presentation. Sue’s HGTV Canada Craftscapes show is a must see as she leads her viewers through the wonderful world of craft and home décor projects. From the “Hands On Home” area we walk through past the home improvement booths and reach the Craft Show and Sale area…

We Hear Music…

The Oakville Waterfront Festival’s layout featured a number of theme areas. We had just past through the home improvement area and entered the craft show and sale section. Booths were lined up on either side of the walkway offering a wide variety of hand made goods. Judi and I wandered through the booth area admiring the various arts and crafts. The quality of the work presented was excellent. From the craft area we moved past the Health and Wellness Village. It was lunchtime and the food concessions were just ahead! A prerequisite of visiting various festivals is tasting their food! We purchased our lunch and took it into Molson Bar and Grill. This area was run by the Rotary Club. Also included in the section was the community stage. This was perfect, because we were entertained while we ate. The young women performing on stage was great. Well fuelled, it was time to move on. The dogs were loose…

Movin' On…

From the Molson Bar and Grill area we moved towards the sound of the dogs barking. After a short walk, passing more food concessions, we came to the Memories of Oakville booth. They had a lot of pictures of old time Oakville. It reminded me of my days going to school at Appleby College. The town has certainly changed since then. While we were at the booth we received a free copy of the King’s Highway Tour CD. This is a tour you can take on your own. The CD describes the route and the different historic point of interest. Judi and I plan to take the tour later this year and we will report back on this blog once we have completed it. Next came the Smart Garden section. Our timing was off once again, we had just missed their presentation. Over the crest of a hill we heard the excited barking and know that the McCann Dogs were getting ready for the big competition. Their performance was every bit as entertaining as it was at the Mississauga Waterfront Festival. Even Fred was there in all his piggy splendour. They did have one different twist to their presentation. They had a dog relay race. It was very exciting. It is remarkable how beautifully trained these dogs are. After the races we turned to go. Off it the background of the McCann area, I caught sight of the Waterfront Stage. On Friday night David Usher had performed, Saturday it was jacksoul and today, Sunday, the Canadian Champions of Magic, Majinx, would take the stage later in the day. As we moved off, the smell of freshly brewed coffee was calling our name…

The Kids Area…

After a great cup of coffee, we stopped to watch the “death defying” skateboard demonstration. The speed and agility of the skaters is amazing, the tricks unbelievable! Reluctantly we moved on. In keeping with “people friendly” theme of the festival, we passed a “Baby Changing” tent. This is the only festival we have visited so far that has provided this service. I am sure all the families with young children are very appreciative of this area. Beyond this tent was the Children’s Village. At the entrance was a very large sand box. Here the kids could build sand castles. Next the kids were entertained at YTV’s “Weird on Wheels”. Home Depot had a booth where kids could hone their building skills. There was fun and challenges everywhere… nerf tennis, Science North, medieval armour (to try on), giant puppets, basketball hoops and more. Oh to be a kid again. Judi and I were exhausted just watching the energy being spent. Fortunately we had reached lake’s edge and a cool breeze was blowing…

On The Shores Of Lake Ontario…

The lake was a brilliant blue. The sun was shinning high in the sky. Looking out over the lake we saw all types of boats enjoying the lake. There were the two cruisers anchored just off shore. There were sail boats, sails billowing in the wind. There were a couple of seadooers whizzing by at full throttle. Then there was the old trawler slowly putting along until it found the perfect spot to anchor. Looking out made me wish we still had our boat. We followed the path along the lake shore until we came to the Midway. We turn up the path towards the familiar sound of the Midway rides as they carried their passengers on their journey of thrills and chills. We strolled through the Midway grounds taking in all the sights and smells. As always, kids and adults alike waited in line for their turn to yell and laugh. We left Coronation Park and the Oakville Waterfront Festival having thoroughly enjoyed this “People Friendly” event...

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