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Amherstburg’s Uncommon Festival continues to grow



by Garrett Fodor

Wizards, inventors, and steampunk enthusiasts alike came together in Amherstburg for one of the area’s newest and most uncommon festivals over the weekend.

  Named as Festivals and Events Ontario’s ‘Best New Festival 2019,’ the second annual Uncommon Festival returned to Amherstburg this past weekend. The three-day event is held in-and-around King’s Navy Yard Park and downtown Amherstburg. It celebrates craftsmanship, innovation, and creation, with attendees often decked out in handmade costumes. 

  Anne Rota is the Manager of Amherstburg Tourism and Culture. She said this event is one of her favourites, and after listening to the public, some changes were made.

“We did a survey last year and asked people what they wanted to see or have at the festival,” Rota said. “And they wanted to have an outdoor movie night, because of King’s Navy Yard Park and along the water. Also, new this year, we had a free concert Friday. So, we’re tracking what people want and it’s just going to get better.”

  The Uncommon Festival featured something for everyone, from photo-ops and butter beer to games, teapot races, mazes, and unique, one of a kind costumes, as attendees were welcome and encouraged to dress in wizard or steampunk attire. There was also a tea party with proceeds going to charity and a showing of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Rota added that they pushed the festival back from early August to late September this year in order to make it more accessible to people who dress-up. Rota noted that so many of the costumes are elaborate and feature leather and velvet, which is hard to wear in the summer heat. She said she hopes to see this festival continue to grow and flourish. 

  The event also gave young people an opportunity to learn, hands on, from student representatives from the University of Windsor and St. Clair college at the WFCU Innovation pavilion, showcasing robotics and science. 

  “The reason why we do so many festivals and events, we want people to support our local businesses. It is a walkable community,” Rota said. “We want people to come out and enjoy our waterfront, but come and visit our businesses, too. Amherstburg is all about the 1800s, just come on out and see the authentic buildings, the cobblestone streets, and our beautiful waterfront.”

  Rota was satisfied with the turnout this weekend and the support the festival and local businesses received. She hopes to continue to grow the festival, with the public’s help, for years to come. 

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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