A sense of festiveness was in the air Friday night at the official opening ceremonies for the 2017 Belleville Waterfront & Ethnic festival.
The annual event held at Zwick’s Park in Belleville celebrated a trio of anniversaries this year, including the 150-year milestones for both Canada and the province of Ontario, as well as the city of Belleville’s 200th birthday.
The Chinese Lion Dancers and Drummers led the Parade of Nations down to the Mainstage at Zwick’s to kickstart the ceremonies. They also performed a dance for the crowd to finish the ceremonies.
The group of speakers that took the stage included Belleville Chamber of Commerce CEO Jill Raycroft, Belleville Mayor Taso Christopher, Hastings Prince Edward MPP Todd Smith, outgoing Base Commander at CFB Trenton Col. Colin Keiver, Quinte Ethnic Council Chairwoman Brigitte Kasprzak, Bay of Quinte MP Neil Ellis and Intertribal Shaman Tracey Kennedy.
MP Ellis says the inclusive community feeling of the festival is something that many other cities in Canada are taking notice of.
Col. Keiver thanked everyone involved in making the event happen and echoed MP Ellis’ statements on how the festival can bring everyone together, in particular for military personnel.
Mayor Christopher had some stirring words for the crowd before officially declaring the festival open.
A Russian dance number was also performed during the ceremony by local woman Megan Brant.
There’s lots to do this weekend at the festival. You can try out many different international foods at the Ethnic Village, visit the new Quinte Craft Beer Garden, take in the many live music and entertainment options or check out the midway. For the kids, there’s RJ the Balloon Dude and the Canada 150 Monster Colouring Mural, among other things to do. If you head down Sunday, you can also watch the pups strut their stuff at the Canine Watersports show and the Ultimutts Stunt Dog show.
The festival will wrap up at 5 p.m. Sunday afternoon.
Full schedule can be found here