A committee meeting in Powell Park on Monday morning finalized plans for 42nd annual Port Dover Summer Festival. Those present said that weather predictions call for warm temperatures and sunny skies for the Saturday and Sunday event running in conjunction with merchant’s Sidewalk Sale Days starting on Friday.
Thousands of people are expected to attend the event centred in shady Powell Park in the downtown core. This popular festival of arts and crafts, also known as Art in the Park, has only the best crafters, artists and artisans as they were juried by knowledgeable people to sort out the best of the applicants.
Sidewalk Sale Days begin on Friday and continue until Sunday. The downtown block of Main Street from Chapman to Market Street will be closed to vehicle traffic all day Friday, Saturday, Sunday to create a downtown pedestrian mall.
Board of Trade Manager Jan Overend reported on Monday, “merchants generally have embraced the idea (of closing the street) saying it is a good idea”.
Tables of merchandise will be on the sidewalk and the street, as well as bargains inside downtown stores. Local singer/songwriter Rachel Heart is arranging for musicians to be on the closed portion of the street.
The Summer Festival Art in the Park Committee reports that about 100 selected arts, crafts, antique vendors will be in Powell Park. There are more antique and collectibles dealers coming than last year, probably filling the upper half of the Market Street block beside the park. Antique coordinator is John Rundle, who along with his wife Kay have volunteered for over 20 years with the Summer Festival committee.
Used Book Table Co-ordinator Ken Olmstead is dealing with the enormous number of used books that will fill the lower half of the Market Street block. Summer Tourism Advisor Madeline Holmes has been categorizing the books, reporting there are many more “newer editions and current titles” than any previous year.
There will be hard cover books, paper back books, cook books, text books and many others, as well as magazines. Board of Trade Manager Jan Overend reported that Port Dover’s ScotiaBank will match dollars generated by the book sales up to $5,000.
Volunteers are needed to transport the boxes of books to the park on Friday. Call the Board of Trade office at 519 583-1314 if you can offer an hour or two of help.
Adding sparkle to the summertime event will be live music in the park, and food vendors that include Port Dover Sea Scouts and Ralph Murphy’s popular Food Wagon.
Park co-ordinator Brian Anderson, assisted by Jim Taylor, have again planned the layout of the downtown park with a computer program to maximize space. Stalls will be in place on Friday in readiness for Saturday morning’s opening.
Manager Overend commented that the list of juried craft and art vendors includes those whose specialties are glass, jewellery, soaps, pottery, leather goods, ornamental metal, fabric art, woodworking, sign craft, sewing and others. Artists will exhibit their skills in a number of venues, as well as photography.
Those who juried the 2014 applicants were Carol Anderson, Barb Hourigan, Robert Anderson, Cindy Pichette, Cal Commodore, Cara Bridgwater and Mary Etta McGraw who Manager Overend reported has the longest record of service of anyone still on the Summer Festival Committee with about 30 years “and is still a valued volunteer”.
Mrs. Gerrett commented on Monday she attended the Summer Festival as a visitor and exhibitor before moving to Port Dover.
Manager Overend referred to the Port Dover Summer Festival “as a Canadian Crafts and Art Show”.
People at the Powell Park location need to be informed what there is see and do. Kay Rundle takes on the task of announcing over the public address system information throughout the two days that is helpful for those in attendance.
Members of the Festival committee (not already mentioned as jurors) are Past Chair Mary Etta McGraw; John and Kay Rundle, Brian Anderson, Jim Taylor and Summer Tourism Advisor Madeline Holmes.
Manager Overend praised “the supporters of the Festival that provide necessary back-up services” including Dr. Michael Ostapchuk, Norfolk Disposal, Norfolk County Community Services (Port Dover crew), Eising Greenhouses & Garden Centre, ScotiaBank.
Monday’s meeting also discussed ways to recognize exhibitors who have made a noteworthy effort to enhance the Festival, expanding on what was done last year in that regard.
Committee chairs, regular volunteers and new recruits, pitch in to get everything set up in one day. After 40 years of planning for the big weekend the set-up goes reasonably smoothly … but a lot of muscle power, time and patience is required. Arrangements have been fine-tuned over the past 40 years so that the smallest detail is looked after. As a result, Port Dover Summer Festival is recognized as a premier arts and craft event in Ontario.
In past years the profits from Summer Festival have been applied to assist community projects and funding the arts.