The exact numbers won’t be known until midweek, but attendance at the 40th edition of the Belleville Waterfront and Multicultural Festival
will be solid.
The organizer of the festival is the Belleville Chamber of Commerce and CEO Jill Raycroft said it is always hard to tell exactly how many people show up because there is no admission charge.
“We’ll know better when the final parking and shuttle bus numbers are in, and when we learn how many people enjoyed the rides on the midway and we’ll have those numbers by the middle of the week. So far, the parking numbers seem on target. We’d like to see around 6,000 vehicles parked over the four days.”
Although there is no admission charge, there is a $5 per vehicle charge for parking which is a great fundraiser for selected local volunteer groups.
“We’re happy to share half of the parking proceeds with other groups in the community,” said Raycroft. “This year groups helping park vehicles were the Bulldogs Boxing Club, girls’ and boys’ hockey teams, and the Satellite Rotary Club.”
The Belleville Waterfront and Multicultural Festival is no bake sale. “It costs around $150,000 to stage the festival and we (Chamber) couldn’t pull it off without the sponsorship of over 60 businesses and other organizations in the area. Most make financial donations but many also volunteer time and services and materials that we need.”
Raycroft said the addition of more local entertainment was a hit and bringing in local craft beer for a second year led to an increase in the popularity of the beer gardens.
“It’s been good, but we’d really like to try and bring in local wineries and cideries next year. Offering liquor would be good too, as some people simply don’t like beer.”
The Multicultural Food Village is always popular, and a lot of people were talking about how tasty Syrian cuisine is. The Syrians were new to the festival this year.
Raycroft thanked the many volunteers who make the festival possible, adding that after a little break, planning for the 41st event will get underway.