Fireworks festival, Riverfest, Scottish festival make province’s top-100 list

NIAGARA FALLS – Three annual events within Wellington County have been named among the top 100 in the province.

The Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games, Mount Forest Fireworks Festival and Riverfest Elora have been included in the 2023 Top 100 Festivals and Events in Ontario, an annual awards list compiled by Festivals and Events Ontario (FEO).

“These top-100 recipients represent festivals and events that excel within the industry,” states a FEO press release.

The awards were given out on March 8 during FEO’s annual conference in Niagara Falls.

The Scottish festival and fireworks festival have been featured previously on the FEO’s top-100 list, but it is a first for Riverfest Elora.

“The amazing organizing team and army of volunteers at Riverfest have always provided our community of Centre Wellington with a world class music and arts festival and it’s humbling to be recognized,” stated Spencer Shewen, Riverfest’s executive and artistic director.

“It shows that our dedication to fun, detail and hard work is being noticed by the industry at large.

“We very much appreciate being included with all the other great events that were recognized this week.”

Fergus Scottish Festival executive director Elizabeth Bender said she is “thrilled” the festival is included on this year’s FEO list.

“It is especially meaningful with 2022 being our first live event after two cancelled festivals due to the pandemic,” she stated in an email.

“For us the award reinforces that we are doing a great job at what we love doing – providing a high calibre, entertaining, engaging, and safe event to all of our attendees.”

Bender added the recognition “feels amazing and we are really proud of all of our volunteers and supporters.”

Sharon Wenger, chair of the Mount Forest Fireworks Festival committee, said it was “a thrill” to be on hand for the announcement of the top 100 festivals.

“So much hard work from so many people within our community goes into making this festival happen,” she told the Advertiser.

“Sponsor activation and community involvement are key pieces to what makes our festival so great, year after year.”

Wenger added the committee “looks forward to putting on another great festival” this year and “loves contributing to put Mount Forest on the map as a tourist destination.”

Also named to the top 100 list from the Huron, Perth, Waterloo and Wellington region were Guelph Hillside Festival, Sun Life Waterloo Busker Carnival and the Stratford Festival.

Submissions for the list were received for consideration in the fall and evaluated by an independent panel of judges, FEO officials say.