PORT Dover Summer Festival’s Art in the Park and sidewalk sales are back this Saturday and Sunday in downtown Powell Park. Since 1973, the third weekend in August has been a time to explore quality arts, crafts and antiques in Port Dover.
“We are so pleased to have every part of the traditional Summer Festival weekend back in full operation this year,” said Festival Chair Jan Overend.“Volunteers have been working for months to put the festival together and we’re excited by the excellent quality of arts and craft vendors that will be in the park this weekend,” Ms Overend said.
“Along with the local stores sidewalk sales, it’s going to be a great weekend in Port Dover.”
Since its start, the festival has sought out quality vendors and required new vendors to supply samples before their acceptance to ensure no mass produced goods were being sold at the event and that requirement of hand-crafted quality has not changed.
This year, the Summer Festival named Rachel Heart its Festival Artistic Director. Byron Morton is the Park Coordinator; Marlene Morton is the Vendor Coordinator; Jody Overend is the Volunteer Coordinator; Adam Veri is the Book Tables Coordinator; Kay Rundle has volunteered on the committee for decades and is the park announcer; Jan Overend is overall chairperson and Antiques Coordinator. All are volunteer positions.
The arts and crafts vendors are located under tents throughout the park. The Summer Festival committee has received much interest from vendors and several new craft vendors will be set up in the park this year.
The organizers say this year will also feature more artists showing their work throughout the park.
The antiques and collectibles section on Market Street East has all the previous vendors back this year from two years ago before Covid-19 cancelled the festival for two consecutive summers.
The book tables will be overflowing again this year. Book Table Coordinator Adam Veri estimates local residents have donated almost 10,000 pre-loved books to this year’s festival. The topics of the donated books cover every subject and many of the books are in “like new” condition.
The book tables will be set up in the park starting on Friday and volunteers are still needed to help move the mountain of books. Shoppers of books are asked to bring their own book bag. Payment for the books selected is by donation. This longtime Summer Festival book sales event is among the most patronized in the park and all donations go to support community projects.
Food will be available in the park throughout the weekend from the Port Dover Scouts and Ice Cream 4U. Other food options are available at restaurants throughout town.
Organizers say they have introduced new events in the park specifically aimed at children. There is face painting available and a booth where children can “Build a Friend.”
The Norfolk County Public Library will have a table with youth-friendly activities. All children visiting Summer Festival can choose a book from the book tables for free.
On both Saturday and Sunday, there will be live music playing in the park between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. On Saturday Jesse Murphy starts the music followed by Brent and Angie Hare with the Black Creek Collective playing at noon; at 3 p.m. Blind Mule plays in the park. On Sunday, Jesse Murphy again starts the day’s music at 11 a.m. followed by The Schotts at noon and Lancaster at 3 p.m.
This annual Port Dover August event has been fine-tuned over the years and is now widely recognized as a leading arts and craft show in southern Ontario. The committee remains flexible and brings in changes to keep its appeal and drawing power strong.
At 10 a.m. on Saturday morning, the official opening ceremonies will take place at Powell Park. Gimaa (Chief) Stacey Laforme of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation is the guest speaker and will offer a welcome and land acknowledgment.
At 10:30 a.m., the first Port Dover Summer Festival Artist of the Year award will be presented to Michael Barber of Port Dover by the Festival’s Artistic Director Rachel Heart.
This new award has been established by the Summer Festival committee to recognize an outstanding local artist for their work and their community involvement.
The sidewalk sales and summer specials are happening at stores all over town. In the downtown core, one block of Main Street will become a pedestrian mall with traffic detoured between Chapman Street and Market Street starting on Friday morning until Sunday evening.
Many stores will set up special displays on the sidewalk with sale merchandise and special offers.
An area will be set up in front of Elmer Lewis Parkette with entertainment for shoppers to enjoy. On Saturday from noon to 3 p.m., the Nelson Family Bluegrass Band will perform and on Sunday afternoon, the Art with Heart Youth Variety and Talent Show will take the downtown stage.