One-of-a-kind pieces of art on display at Kempenfest
At Kempenfest in Barrie, you don't have to look very far to find something you'll love.
On Saturday, 350 artisans displayed handcrafted work all made in Canada, many of them not far from Barrie. There's pillows made from old firefighter jackets, knitted clothing, and pottery.
"I just love the gathering of community in one spot to celebrate art and music, and the beauty that we have to offer in our local area," said one festival goer.
In 1971, Kempenfest opened with just 25 artists and photographers. The festival now spans more than two kilometres along Barrie’s waterfront.
"I was born and raised here and there was nothing here when I was a kid, so it's incredible to see all the people here and all the booths and all the work that goes into it," says Dax Jensen, who is on the committee for Kempenfest.
Asem Nada has been showcasing his glass creations at Kempenfest for the last 17 years. He always showcases his most unique items here before other art shows.
"It’s not important to sell it here, but to show it to them. I am proud to show it to them,” Nada says. “First generation of my things."
While some artists return year after year, Brayden Longstaffe and his buddies are first timers and with 200,000 people expected this weekend, it's the perfect place to launch a business.
"It's great exposure, especially this one. You get a ton of people, so we're very excited to get the larger audience in," says Longstaffe of Longstaffe Wood Craft.
Next to the artisans, you'll find 37 antique booths. Vendors like Tom Fritz come from as far as Edmonton for this show.
"It's a tradition. I just look forward to it every year in fact we've been planning this for months.”
Kempenfest continues through Monday.