Centre Wellington festivals, arts community and tourism officials come together for Festival Faire

Centre Wellington festival officials, artists, merchants, tourism officials and more are coming together to offer Festival Faire, a new one-day celebration of Centre Wellington.

“Since I came to this community just over a year and a half ago I realized what is here,” said Elora Festival manager Chris Sharpe.

“It’s just mind boggling all the festivals, all the events, the culture, the artisan, the food, everything just coming together to make this a really unique community, so I thought for Canada’s 150th it might be interesting to bring as many of those forces together and have a big celebration.”

Festival Faire, to be held on July 8 at the Wellington County Museum and Archives, is free due to a $13,000 grant from the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th from the Centre Wellington Community Foundation and the government of Canada.

The day will include  entertainment for the whole family, starting at 2pm and ending at 9pm.

Sharpe said organizers  plan to have a stage at the base of the museum hill with performers representing the Elora Festival, Riverfest and the Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games.      

“The grounds on the museum are just beautiful,” Sharpe said. “Big expanse and graded so people can sit comfortably on that grade and see the stage, which will be a large stage set up just close to the road.”

The Elora Festival Singers are scheduled to perform, as well as the Wellington Terrace Circle of Song Choir for residents with dementia.

“We are slotting in performers that represent the Scottish Festival and … there will be pipers and there will be highland dancers … and then Riverfest will also be represented there as well,” Sharpe said.

The entertainment will be capped off with a performance by fiddler Ashley MacIsaac from 7 to 9pm.

“We’re really excited to have him because he has represented each of the three music festivals here,” Sharpe said.

“Basically (he) launched his career with the Scottish Festival and has appeared at Riverfest and has appeared at the Elora Festival as well.”

While the entertainment is taking place on the stage, visitors will be able to walk a loop on the grounds and visit various artists, merchants and tourist attraction representatives taking part in Festival Faire.

In addition, the beer garden on site will sell local beer and local food vendors will offer their dishes.

“It’s going to be highlighting a lot of different things and although the three main festivals will … take care of the entertainment side of things and some of the activities that will be going on, (for) these (other) … events that will be happening within the grounds, it’s really going to be an equal time for all parties,” Sharpe said.

There will also be a number of child-friendly events taking place throughout the grounds so the entire family can be involved.

“In addition there will be guided tours on the trailway,  which is right across from the museum, so we’re trying to get people to get a good sense of the natural beauty of the area as well,” Sharpe said. “So people coming in can do just about anything.

“They have a lot to choose from and hopefully they’ll get a really good taste of everything and have some things to take away as well, so they can plan future visits … and hopefully spread the word.”

The event will also tie in Canada’s 150th anniversary.

“There will be actors in period dress, and there will be displays that relate to the 150 years of this area in particular and how we have fit into Canada,” he said.

A number of the exhibits at the museum will be related to Canada’s sesquicentennial and Festival Faire will offer an Aboriginal performing element as well.

But to ensure the day runs smoothly, Sharpe is looking for volunteers.

“It’s not a ticketed event so we don’t have to worry so much about that,” Sharpe said. “But they will be ambassadors so they will be guiding people as to where to go.”

Volunteers will be responsible for directing traffic to parking, greeting visitors, handing out site maps, giving directions and just being on hand to offer assistance.

For more information about volunteering contact the Elora Festival office at 519-846-0331 or info@EloraFestival.com.    

“The nice thing about this event is it’s just bringing a lot of different people together who may not have sat at the table together for a while and that’s really exciting to see,” Sharpe said.

“Everyone is enthusiastic and helpful and sharing. It’s a fantastic way I think to really bring those people together to talk about mutual interests, common issues that we’re all dealing with and sharing our resources …

“It’s a very cool thing … where we’re showing that we need each other and can help each other … it’s what makes Centre Wellington so unique.”

For more information about Festival Faire visit www.elorafestival.ca/festival-faire.