(Published in the North Grenville Times, May., 2014)
Volunteerism and civic pride are two traits that are firmly rooted in this community and both will be proudly on display in Old Town Kemptville this weekend at the 14th Annual Dandelion Festival.
Like the dandelion itself, the Festival grows willy-nilly each year; it’s tenacious and refuses to die. If I can be permitted to stretch the metaphor, it’s wild beauty and medicinal powers are under-valued, too. As the days count down, I can tell you, the many volunteers involved in this year’s Festival are experiencing organized chaos, as well as reveling in the thrill of pulling off something huge for the community.
For months leading up to the Festival, the message has been “The Dandelion Festival is Back on the Street” and it is – Prescott and Clothier Streets, to be precise. Both will be closed to traffic for much of Saturday and Sunday during the day. This news was welcomed by most of the merchants of Old Town and those who’ve been expressing the desire to see a “street party” atmosphere return to the event.
The activities listed in the official Festival Program circulating around North Grenville are only some of the things to experience downtown May 24th and 25th. Even the insert being hastily printed fails to cover everything. You’ll just have to come by on Saturday and Sunday to see for yourself.
When you do come, expect to find parking at Kemptville College, off Concession Road at South Branch Elementary School (follow the signs for a short to walk to the Festival), at Kemptville Public School, behind the former high school off Rueben Street and the usual Riverside Park parking lot. Seniors and disabled parking will be beside the North Grenville Library on Water Street. Please be considerate and don’t block residents’ driveways.
The official Festival theme this year is “Discover Our Roots” – an invitation to Eastern Ontario (from Ottawa to Prescott, Brockville to Cornwall) to come to Kemptville and discover a little bit about our community. Besides local food, crafts and talent, the Dandelion Festival also displays the level of engagement and pride we have in this community and the degree to which we support our local economy – admirable traits that are deeply rooted in North Grenville.
After a difficult year of construction, road and bridge closures, the Festival will provide a well needed “shot in the arm” for business downtown and on behalf of the Old Town Kemptville Business Improvement Association, I’d like to express our appreciation to the volunteers of the Organizing Committee of the 2014 Dandelion Festival for working with the Municipality and the County to bring the festival, literally, to the doorsteps of merchants in Old Town Kemptville. Thank you!