Ninth edition of Art on the Waterfront

CHESTERVILLE – The village streets were alive with colour, crafts, dance and food as music echoed off the South Nation River during the ninth annual Art on the Waterfront (AOTW) festival Sat., June 1 and Sun., June 2.

The vivaciousness in the streets was a welcome beacon of joy in what has been a drab spring.

Vendors and artists from surrounding villages and as far away as Montreal showed off artwork, handmade soaps, jewellery, preserves and home baked goods on both levels of the waterfront.

Rebekah Von Gurp from Highland Dancing with Rebekah and her students entertained the crowd Sat., June 1 at the ninth annual Art on the Waterfront festival in Chesterville.

The Kids Zone, which included a colouring and chalk art contest, talent show, face painting, play areas bouncy castle and live entertainment from Monkey Rock Music, was a big hit with families while across the river, top quality music and ice-cold beer, were hard to ignore.

The festival stretched down Water Street for the first time this year, partly due to the increase in vendors according to AOTW chair Cheryl Beasley.

“We had a lot more interest this year. Last year it was over 30. This year it’s more than 40,” she said.

The Chesterville Waterfront Market vendors, the regular occupants of the downtown on Saturdays, continued to be part of the festival as well, much to the delight of Beasley who organized it for years before stepping aside early this year.

“That was my baby for so long and to have it go on, I am so pleased,” she said.

The musical stage, provided by Ottawa Special Events, and the acts, organized by Michael “Tic” Houston, was a special source of pride for Beasley.

“I don’t know how he does it on the budget I give him. If it wasn’t for him, the festival wouldn’t be the way it is,” she said.

Although the two-day festival continues to grow with its success and with the 10-year anniversary around the corner, the reason behind the event remains the same.

“People don’t always see the artists because they’re not visible. They don’t really have a location or storefront,” said Beasley. “I do this for the community because Chesterville is a wonderful place and people need to know this gem is here. It’s waiting for a boon and it’s going to come.”

Violet Bray (left) and Jillian Garlough, two of the younger performers, entertained the crowd with their enthusiastic and colourful highland dancing.

Kaitlyn Bennett performed the Sailor’s Hornpipe dance.

Alice and Joel Fawcett squeezed a pair of lemons together and made lemonade for thirsty festival-goers.

Walter Baynham was as spry as a tiger in the bouncy castle.

Kieran Howes of Monkey Rock Music was part of the well rounded children’s entertainment offered this year.

The Big Train Wreck, a four-piece folk band, unleashed an entertaining, toe-tapping performance.

The street was full of vendors.

The lower-tier of the waterfront in the village was bustling, too. Schoch Photos