The main attraction of Kempenfest is of course the arts and crafts exhibitors. This year there will be 260 of them located throughout the 1.5km event site. The group who organize this part of Kempenfest is the Barrie Art Club. From its origins in 1949 the club’s mission is to make an artistic contribution to our community. And the arts and crafts portion of Kempenfest is a manifestation of that aim.
Originally conceived by members of the Barrie Art Club and the Kiwanis Club of Barrie as the Huronia Festival of Arts and Crafts, both clubs remain involved in producing the show today. From modest beginnings the Festival has helped Kempenfest grow into one of the largest in North America, with over 300 exhibits and visitors numbering in the hundreds of thousands.
Kempenfelt Bay makes the perfect back-drop to the varied activities on offer. Artisans who have been selected by a jury made up of representatives from the Barrie Art Club, Kiwanis Club of Barrie and past vendors, display their wares in this delightful outdoor environment.
The Festival is a major fund raiser for the Barrie Art Club and Kiwanis Club of Barrie who use the funds raised to support many programs in the Barrie Community. The Barrie Art Club provides grants to Georgian College Fine Arts program as well as making contributions to Barrie Library, Simcoe County Museum and the MacLaren Art Centre. The funds also support the Art Club’s gallery providing an opportunity for over 200 local artists to display their works which can be viewed by the public at no charge. Thus the funds raised in our community stay in our community.
When the exhibitor list is complete it will be available on the Huronia Festival of Arts and Crafts website.