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From the Desk of the CEO Jill Raycroft

And just like that, the 40th Waterfront & Multicultural Festival has come and gone.  Months and hours of planning and preparation lead up to this event and then it’s over.  The Chamber appreciates the relationship it has with the City to coordinate these events and over the past 10 years, Susan Walsh (Special Events Coordinator) has been tweaking and honing what has become this four fun-filled days of festivities.  Ranked in the top 100 Festivals in Ontario for 4 years in a row now, I think she deserves a huge round of applause for continuing to maintain the essence of this event while adding new elements to make it fun for the whole family, kids, teens, adults (and even older adults) alike.  Some of you may still remember the Folkorama passport you’d carry to different venues to try the food – others will remember (or not) when the Waterfront festival sprawled across three parks.

There are a number of people who participate in making this event happen and a great deal of credit needs to go to Susan Walsh and our team here, Rosi Ouellette & Matt Munro.  The Quinte Ethnic Council were at the foundation of the event and it was truly their 40 years of dedication to the community, and their belief that breaking bread together builds it, that we celebrated this year.  Mayor Taso Christopher presented the current Chair, Brigitte Kasprzk, with a certificate of recognition at our Opening Ceremonies.  This year had the most variety ever with 11 different countries represented.  We all go for our traditional favourites, but if you didn’t try Syria’s garlic dip or hummus – make sure you put it on your list for next year! (Or go to the Farmer’s Market!)  Taste of southern BBQ with the melt in your mouth brisket from Bottle Rocket Southern was another new treat we enjoyed in the Beer Garden.

We also welcomed a number of local musicians to the stage this year in addition to the talent Susan sources and we had three of our local craft breweries in the park this year for refreshments .  A special shout out to the Scout troop and students from Loyola who made the Parade of Nations truly a parade along with those who joined us in their traditional clothing and the Neema Children’s choir for entertaining us at the Opening Ceremonies.  Next year, we will build on the multicultural elements of the Festival with help from the Belleville Inclusion committee, the Ambassadors for Belleville and other groups affiliated with newcomers as well.

Ultimately, none of this is possible without the support of our 60+ local businesses who provide funding or services directly to cover costs of the entertainment and activities.   For a full list, please visit this link and if you see someone from one of these businesses, thank them for making the event possible!

If you did join us at the Festival, please provide us with your feedback here – we’re interested to know what you love and what you’d like to see next year!

Now. Summer. Begins.