Volume 12 Week 5

Tuesday, July 18


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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

Beacon Hill,
Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney





It’s festival season in
Ottawa, so get out
and enjoy

I’ve often heard people complain about how boring Ottawa is when nothing could be further from the truth. Ottawa may be a lot of things, but boring its is not one of them, especially during the months of June and July when residents and visitors alike have a multitude of events to choose from almost every weekend.

This past weekend was a perfect example. There were no fewer than seven festivals going on at the same time, including the Carivibe Beach Party on Petrie Island. On top of that you had the Canada 150 Heritage Parade and Street Dance in Navan and the Summer Sizzler event in Chapel Hill South.

Just to prove a point, I went to five festivals and the Navan Street Dance on Saturday in less than six hours.

I started on Petrie Island where nearly 2,000 people were dancing and swaying to the beats provided by DJ Puffy from Barbados, who recently won the Red Bull Thre3style World Championships.

Carivibe has been held at Petrie Island for the past six years now and we are the richer for it. The festival is a celebration of Caribbean culture, focusing on two of my favourite things – music and food.

Speaking of food, the third weekend in June is traditionally when the Ottawa Ribfest is held on the Sparks Street Mall. The event attracts thousands of hungry visitors every year and this year was no exception. The only downside is that the lineups are usually quite long. Fortunately this is not the first rodeo for many of the vendors and the lineups move along very quickly.

As for the ribs, well you can’t find much better. I love ribs and I love Ribfest. Orléans has its own Ribfest in September and I can’t wait for seconds.

Speaking of seconds this is the second year that I attended the Ottawa Beer Fest at Lansdowne Park which is also held on the third weekend in June. Orléans held its first annual Beer Fest on June 8-10, and it was a huge success.

The best thing about craft beer festivals is that everyone you meet is in a good mood. I have yet to meet a grumpy Beer Fest goer.

The third weekend in June is also when the final weekend of the Italian Festival is held. With a mix of food, music and Ferraris, Italian Fest is one of my favourite festivals of the year.

The event draws tens of thousands of people to Preston Street which is closed to traffic from Carling to Somerset.

Glowfest is also held the third weekend in June on Bank Street.

As festivals go, Glowfest is a relatively new phenomenon. The very first Glowfest, which is billed as “a block party like no other”, was held in 2014. The event is a mix of music+light+art, attracting thou-sands of people to Bank Street which is temporarily closed for the occasion from James Street to Slater.

One of the unique aspects of Glowfest is the Silent Disco during which partici-pants are given headsets in which they all can hear the same electronic dance music. If you think it sounds strange you should see it.

The Ottawa Fringe Festival and the Festival Franco were also held on the weekend, bringing the total number of festivals to choose from to seven.

Besides the many festivals, the Red Bull Rally Cross was also held on the grounds of the Aviation Museum. That adds up to seven festivals, a street dance, and a rally cross all held on the same weekend.

And that’s just the beginning. In the weeks ahead there is Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival from June 20-23; the Dragon Boat Festival also from June 20-23; the Ottawa International Jazz Festival from June 22 to July 2; the Ottawa Bluesfest from July 6-16; the HOPE Beach Volleyball Tournament on July 15; the Lebanese Festival from July 19-23; the Ottawa Asian Fest from July 28-30; Ottawa Chamberfest from July 22 to Aug. 4; the Ottawa Buskerfest from Aug. 3-7; Greekfest from Aug. 10-20; the Arboretum Festival from Aug. 18-20; and the City Folk Fest from Sept. 13-17.

Outside the city there is the Glengarry Highland Games on Aug. 4 and 5, and the Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival from Aug. 31 to Sept. 4. And let’s not forget the Canada Day weekend festivities, both downtown and on Petrie Island, and the Navan Fair which will take place during the second week in August.

According to the Ottawa Festivals website there are more than 100 annual festivals, events and fairs taking place in 2017, proving once again that Ottawa really is the festival capital of Canada, if not the entire world.

So pick one, two or several of the events lined up for this summer. Go forth and have a good time.

(If you wish to comment on this or any other View Point column please write to Fred Sherwin at fsherwin@magma.ca)

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