The largest outdoor arts and crafts festival in Canada, Kempenfest is held each year, during the long weekend in August, in Barrie, Ontario. This year, the festival falls on the 29th of July until the 1st of August, and will feature hundreds of talented artisans, delicious food vendors, live entertainment and so much more.
Arts and Crafts
Being an arts and crafts festival, the arts and crafts are usually the highlight each year at Kempenfest, and, this year, spread out across the 1.5 km site, there will be over 300 different arts and crafts exhibitors. When the idea for a festival such as this first came about in 1949, the aim was to make an artistic contribution to the community, and Kempenfest has managed to do exactly that over the years. The artisans who will be displaying their goods will have been chosen by a specialist jury consisting of members from the Barrie Art Club and the Kiwanis Club of Barrie, ensuring that the quality of items are always as high as possible. From clothing and stylish accessories to ceramics to fine art to home décor and glass, visitors are likely to encounter a number of pieces that they will want to take home with them.
Another popular aspect to Kempenfest are the food vendors that set up stalls here. Local establishments are always favored, and you will find vendors such as Ye Olde Fudge Pot, The Bean Ladies, Carmichael Sm Meats and Hawberry Farms. Annanda Chaga is a vendor that always attracts plenty of attention, with their chaga mushrooms that are known for being the king of medicinal mushrooms, while The Art of Nova Scotia sells fresh jams and honey with unique twists, such as their Raspberry and Wild Blueberry Jam and their Cinnamon Honey.
With the festival’s main stage being sponsored by OLG, the long weekend is packed with high-quality entertainment. In addition to the talented buskers, who will be making their way around the festival, serenading you while you eat, there are a number of headlining acts that are highly anticipated, such as Rock 95, Lighthouse, Paper Bird, and Coconut Navy. Other than music, there will also be plenty of fun and games to be found, such as Let ‘Em Eat 6, which is an annual pizza eating competition sponsored by the Pie Wood Fired Pizza Joint, the Please and Thanks Hip Hop Show for kids, and a performance by Cindy Cook from Polka Dot Door on the Family Stage. There will be several shows and activities each day for children as well as adults, making this a festival that the whole family can quite easily enjoy.
For those who are thinking about visiting Kempenfest, the festival has their own app, on which you can download show schedules, maps of the grounds and much more, although this can also be seen on the festival’s website. The city of Barrie itself is a vibrant and upbeat area, and it is well worth spending a few days there if you are traveling to Ontario for Kempenfest.