The main attraction of Kempenfest is, of course, the arts and crafts exhibitors. This year we are back to our original size with 350+ exhibitors across the entire 2km of the event. 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.
This year there are three distinct sub-categories of the Arts and Crafts at Kempenfest.Original Arts and Crafts
– mostly located in Centennial Park – these must be hand-made by the artisan who is on site curating their work.Tastes of Kempenfest
is for great things for and from the kitchen – jams, preserves, fudges, chocolates and much more. These are not commercially produced products. Most of these vendors are located on the South Shore between Tiffin Launch and the Sundial. And finallyThe Marketplace
a section for new and innovative products not sold at retail yet, distributors of art and craft (not made by them) and other Canadian Products – mostly located on the South Shore between the main stage and the Sundial.
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 fundraiser 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.
This year’s event is sold out. We will have the complete listing of exhibitors here shortly. Meanwhile please visit the Huronia Festival of Arts and Crafts website here.