NEW NAME, SAME FUN
Event formerly called Sydney Harbourfront Festival
Waterfront Festival starts Wednesday.
The First Annual Sydney Waterfront Festival featuring activities for all ages kicks off on Wednesday.
The past two years the festival was dubbed the Sydney Harbourfront Festival and was organized by the Sydney Harbourfront Society, which has since disbanded.
This year the festival is being presented in part by the Sydney Waterfront District Association. The organizers aim to separate this year from past festivals.
“We kept some of the traditional favourite events that had been featured in Action Week in the past, but we’ve added a couple new events to make it our own,” said Michelle Wilson, executive director of Sydney Waterfront District Association.
Some of the traditional events include the Teddy Bear Picnic on Wedneday, the Night Light Parade, celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday, on Thursday, the Mini Olympics on the Friday, the Kidspree on Sunday and a concert featuring big names in East Coast music.
One of the new attractions that Wilson is excited about is a mural that will be painted on Charlotte Street next to the Maple Leaf Restaurant by Canadian muralist, Allan Ryan, who is originally from North Sydney.
Ryan will be painting the mural throughout the week and its exact image will be a surprise to the public until he finishes.
“I think it’s going to be really exciting to watch and we’ve listed it as an event through the entire festival, to see the mural unfold before everyone’s eyes,” said Wilson, “I will say that it will be bright, vibrant colours and a fun image in the middle of downtown.”
Wilson said the mural also will benefit Sydney in the long run.
“There’s another level behind the mural as well; since we’ve been working with the National Trust of Canada, we started a regeneration initiative in May,” said Wilson. “The mural checked off two boxes — it’s fun and entertaining through the festival but it also leaves a lasting impact to show that we’re serious about bringing back new life to the Sydney waterfront district.”
Because the tall ships (large sailing vessels) will be in Sydney during the First Annual Waterfront Festival, it will also be a Rendez-vous 2017 Tall Ships celebration.
Wilson said the tall ships being in Sydney really adds to the festival.
“The tall ships are coming that weekend in conjunction with our festival, so that will be a really exciting addition to this years festival,” said Wilson.
The ships will be open for public viewing Friday and Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. on the waterfront, as well as on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The ships are open to people 16 years of age and older. Participants need to bring valid identification for a free ship tour.
Because the festival is a culmination of different organizations planning the activities for months, including the CBRM and CBC, there are several concerts that will be happening.
On Thursday, the Sydney Credit Union Makin’ Waves Music Festival starts at 6 p.m, with local performers Laurenn Marchand, Curtis Matheson, and Cody Degaust.
Friday will feature the first of two free public concerts outside the Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion, presented by CBC. Friday’s performers are Matt Minglewood, who gets on stage at 7 p.m., followed by Buskers After Dark.
Wilson said Saturday is chock-full of events all across Sydney and may be the most jam-packed day of the festival.
“It will be a lot of fun that Saturday, I’m expecting it to be a pretty busy day,” said Wilson.
The day begins with Yoga on the Waterfront starting at 10:30 a.m. Saturday will also see the return of the annual Street Festival from 10 a.m.
to 5 p.m. on Charlotte Street, featuring the food-truck round
up, sidewalk sale highlighting local merchants as well as various vendors, live entertainment, face painting, busker performances and activities for kids.
In the evening, the second free public concert from CBC will take place outside the Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion at 7 p.m. featuring the Halifaxbased band Port Cities followed by Buskers After Dark.
On Sunday evening, the festival wraps with a concert outside the Joan Harris Cruise Pavilion. Headlining is CCMA nominated country band River Town Saints. Local singer Jordan Musycsyn and his band will open for them. Following the concert the Sydney Waterfront Festival will end with a bang with a fireworks display.
In this file photo, Benjamin Peterson is pictured with a mascot at last year’s Sydney Harbourfront Festival, which has been reincarnated this year as the Sydney Waterfront Festival, with new organizers.