Culture in the Port City: Harvesting the Arts Festival Tenth Anniversary

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The Harvesting the Arts Festival celebrated its tenth anniversary on Saturday, Oct. 19. Running from 11:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m., there truly was never a dull moment. The turnout for this highly anticipated arts festival was phenomenal. Saint Johners and cruise passengers alike lured to the city’s center to peruse the wares of local artisans while enjoying the crisp fall day.

The scenic uptown area functioned as the perfect location for this festival. With events taking place throughout uptown Saint John, the festival spanned out to include small businesses as well as public spaces. Some of the businesses involved included Handworks, The Feel Good Store, Heartbreak Boutique, The Saint John Arts Centre and the New Artisan Gallery. The open-air markets that ran from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in King’s Square and Loyalist Plaza were bombarded with curious locals as well as tourists from the Queen Mary II.

The festival encompassed many forms of art, featuring musicians, painters, photographers, jewelry designers, potters, performance artists and knitters just to name a few. The festival’s intent was to promote local talent and showcase the diverse arts community within the Port City. Jam makers stood alongside painters, reflecting on the openhearted nature of Harvesting the Arts. The variety of artistic mediums and genres made for a crowd-pleasing festival having something for everybody. Art-aficionados explored the canvased prints of painters; foodies tried samples of delicious fudge and music-lovers swayed to live music performed in the recently refurbished King’s Square Bandstand.

Darryl Sequeira was one of many UNB Saint John students that ventured uptown to check out the festival. “The Harvesting the Arts festival certainly was a moment to revere in Saint John,” says Sequeria. “Apart from the wonderful music, it brought the people together to enjoy musical talent from various parts of Canada.”

Monica Peterson, another student who attended says, “It was awesome seeing a huge crowd of people come together [to] celebrate local talent. Watching people discover hidden local gems that Saint John can be known for is a point of pride for me.”

The recently established Hard Times in the Maritimes magazine was involved in the festival for the first time this year and shared some of its handmade publications with the community of Saint John. Armed with a recent third volume of Halloween themed local-content, representatives of Hard Times were able to show off their hard work and mingle with an impressionable crowd.

Julia Wright, the Editor of Hard Times felt welcomed by the festival and hopes for more events like this in the future,

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says Wright. “Many of us, including Hard Times, were able to reach a totally new audience and the reception was amazing.”

Copies of this local magazine can be found at the Feel Good Store, Heartbreak Boutique and Backstreet Records.

All in all, the Harvesting the Arts Festival was a great success. It provided a welcoming environment for Saint John’s diverse arts community while continuing to promote the hard-working local artists.

For more information on the Harvesting the Arts Festival check out their website www.fusionsj.com or on facebook at www.facebook.com/harvestingthe.artsfestival.

You can also check out the Hard Times in the Maratimes magazine on facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Hard-Times-Magazine.

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