Artfest celebrates it’s 10th anniversary as it returns to City Park this weekend after a two year hiatus.
Lory MacDonald, the festival’s organizer, says planning got underway in January when she was given a “glint of hope” that a summer festival would be permitted.
She says it should look and feel similar to the Artfest of years passed for festival goers, and will boast a wide variety of creations throughout the 150 artists involved.
MacDonald says having diversity throughout the festival is something she thinks is important in the planning process.
“When you come to an event you really want to see a lot of variety,” MacDonald said.
“That’s one of things I really do build into the festival… when you’re strolling through the park and you’re at Artfest you’re going to constantly be seeing something new.”
MacDonald does the vast majority of planning herself before a team of roughly 30 joins her for the setup and three day operation of the festival.
There are some volunteers on hand as well, but MacDonald says with it being the Canada Day weekend it’s often difficult to get any volunteers on board and the majority of work involved is handled by herself and her team.
This year, the festival has faced some unforeseen challenges as some partners from previous years are experiencing staffing shortages.
MacDonald said equipment has also been hard to come by in the community during this holiday weekend, noting that rental companies have told her every single extension cord in the city has been spoken for, leading Artfest to source some equipment from places like Ottawa and Toronto.
After two years of absence though, MacDonald says one of the biggest challenges can be getting back into the headspace of organizing.
“It’s really challenging to get back into it because your head is not in that space anymore, it’s almost like you deleted all the files,” MacDonald said.
“I have some things I can kind of fall back on but there’s a lot of things I realized ‘oh yeah I forgot about that’.”
In spite of those challenges, Artfest is ready to kick off on Canada Day, with the festival running from 10-6 daily in City Park Friday-Sunday.
Alongside the artist boutiques set up, there will be live music throughout the day and local food trucks in the park.
Parking is sparse as the area around City Park is undergoing some construction, but Artfest has a shuttle bus running throughout the weekend with stops at the Memorial Centre and Toys R’ Us.
Schedules for the shuttle and other info about Artfest can be found here.