Friday's Carrotfest a local affair

By Miriam King, Bradford Times

Bradford's Carrotfest has been ranked one of Ontario's top festivals for the past 7 years – but Friday's Carrotfest event was a family-oriented local event.

The crowds were smaller, the booths and vendors were all local, and included the Helping Hand Food Bank, and Verve Senior Living's new retirement residence, Holland Gardens, now under construction on Holland St. West.

There was a KidZone, sponsored by Vaughan Chrysler, filled with bouncy castles, face painting and temporary tattoos, and the balloon artistry of The Twisted Ones; there was a car show, with vintage and muscle cars and trucks on display on the main street – and there was music, lots of music.

The Bradford Arts Centre, introducing its first subscription series this fall, set up a booth and welcomed  singer Amelia DePiero, and Jazz duo Anthony D'Alessandro on keyboards and vocalist Laura Swanky.

Over on the main stage, bands included Nessie – all grads of Algonquin college's music program, with lead singer Jack Kuzmyk – and Gap 33, entertaining the crowd in the beer garden.

And at the Courthouse, it was all about the music of yesteryear, with tribute artists Amberley Beatty, Joe Passion, Will Chambers and Mason Cigan channelling the voices and energies of  Connie Francis and Patsy Cline, Dion and Jerry Lee Lewis, Neil Diamond – and of course, Elvis.

BWG Mayor Rob Keffer described it as a “family-friendly Friday Night Carrotfest.”

“I think that it's a great idea, based on the economy of the area,” said MPP for York-Simcoe, Julia Munro, in her final official appearance at Carrotfest before her retirement. Wearing Carrot earrings and noting that Carrotfest “is one of Ontario's most popular festivals of the season,” Munro urged everyone to get out and enjoy - “and don't forget to eat your carrots.”

The bigger CarrotFest street festival takes place on Saturday, August 19 – with hundreds of vendors, buskers, pro wrestling, live music, and more.