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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Families flock to Kingsville for 54th annual Migration Fall Fest


by Sylene Argent, Local Journalism Initiative

Kingsville celebrated the beauty of migration, the Father of Conservation – Jack Miner, heritage, and nature over the weekend, as it hosted four full days of Migration Fall Festival activities.

The 54th annual Migration Fall Festival hosted an array of family-friendly events over the course of four-days, offering something for everyone to enjoy. This was able to occur thanks to the volunteers on the event’s steering committee and the many individuals who offered their time and energy to help out.

Festivities kicked-off Thursday evening with an adult-focused event. The Jody Raffoul Band played at the Grovedale Arts & Culture Centre, which Karen Loney, Kingsville’s Manager of Recreation Programs and Special Events, said was a big success.

This was the first-time the Town of Kingsville focused on hosting an event for a more mature crowd, and she said they were thrilled with the outcome as it attracted a full house of concertgoers.

In addition, on Saturday members of the Migration Fall Festival Committee, in addition to Town of Kingsville staff and volunteers, hosted an array of family-orientated activities at the Lions Park in Kingsville.

Families had the opportunity to carve pumpkins with members of the OPP, learn about birds of prey through an interactive demonstration, enjoy entertainment from Jangles the Clown, play with an array of toys, ride the Kingsville Express train as it made its way around the park grounds, cheer on the talented canines with the Border City Barkers Agility Club, and learn through hands-on experience with Mad Science.

In addition, the Kingsville Optimist Club hosted activities and the Kingsville Lions Club hosted a barbeque.

Loney was thrilled with the turnout on Saturday, noting many families headed over to the park directly after the Migration Fall Festival parade made its way through downtown Kingsville.

Over at the Grovedale Arts & Culture Centre, the free Migration Fall Festival Marketplace was hosted with over 30 vendors offering unique and homemade wares for sale.

Event organizers were thrilled with the turnout and support of the local crafters, who wanted to get involved. Foot-traffic during the event was heavy throughout the day on Saturday, which pleased the event organizers.

Saturday’s activities also included bike tours with Bike Windsor Essex.

In addition, artists from far and wide had the opportunity to compete in the Great Migration Paint Out, which was a four-day “en Plein air” painting competition. 54 artists participated, which event organizers noted those artists were not even just local, but came from Hamilton, Toronto, Haliburton, Michigan, and Kingston to participate.

The out-of-town artists told organizers that they really enjoyed the hospitality and warm welcome they received when coming to Kingsville to participate in the art competition, organizer Elaine Van Loo said. This was the fourth-year Migration Fall Festival hosted the art competition, and it has grown since it had 22 exhibitors last year.

In addition to its adult competition, this year’s Great Migration Paint Out also offered divisions for youth and children, of which around 150 young artists from Kingsville and area schools took advantage. Leamington District High School even brought out a busload of students to Lakeside Park during the event to take advantage of an opportunity to not only compete, but to give some of those artistic students an opportunity to promote their skills and connect with professional artists.

Van Loo noted that the professional artists who participated in the competition were really great at inspiring the youth artist, giving them tips on how to improve their skills, and also how to promote themselves.

On Sunday, committee members judged the submissions, which had to be painted during the Migration Fall Festival, and selected winners in a variety of categories. First prize earned a whopping $1000, second prize took home $500, and third prize was able to collect $300. Additional prizes were also presented in different categories, including a People’s Choice Award.

Up to 200 art pieces were displayed at the Grovedale Arts & Culture Centre, where members of the community were able to look over the freshly created art pieces and even had a chance to purchase them.

There was an admission fee for adults to participate, with proceeds going back into the event, so it could be hosted again next year. The art competition could not go on without the generous support of local businesses and the community, she noted.

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