Friday’s CarrotFest celebration in Bradford has become a favourite of local residents.
Friday may lack the bustle, the scale, the bling and the buskers of Saturday’s big street festival, but it has more of a family atmosphere, and small-town sensibility.
There’s the KidsZone, where kids could play on bouncy castles, make crafts, and decorate a Sweet B’s Confectionery Cupcake – all for free – while juggling, face-painting, and the balloon artistry of The Twisted Ones kept parents and kids enthralled.
All of the booths represented local businesses and charitable organizations. Local restaurants and food trucks kept the crowds fed.
On Holland St. East, the Back Alley Cruisers Car Club took advantage of the fine weather and brought out their classic, antique and muscle cars, for a show-and-shine that filled the street.
And there was music. In the Village Inn Beer Garden, the Main Stage rocked to the beat of Big Shiny 90s – playing everything from Britney Spears to Finger Eleven tunes – while over at the courthouse, it was all about nostalgia.
As the audience sat under patio umbrellas, the Neo Young Band channelled the music of Neil Young - perfect for a weekend marking the 50th anniversary of Woodstock. Later in the evening, The British Invasion brought the sounds of the ‘60s British Pop to life.
Even as dusk fell, crowds continued to build, enjoying a fine summer evening at Carrotfest.
Friday also saw the official opening ceremonies for Carrotfest. BWG Mayor Rob Keffer and all of Council welcomed special guests that included MP Scot Davidson, and MPP and Minister of Transportation, Caroline Mulroney.
Davidson spoke about the power of farmers – and carrots – as an economic driver in Canada, but it was Mulroney who won spontaneous applause. The Minister of Transportation made an official announcement at CarrotFest, of her government’s support for the long-awaited Bradford Bypass, that will link Highways 400 and 404.
“It’s a great night for York-Simcoe,” said Mulroney, describing CarrotFest as a time “to celebrate all the beautiful things that make Bradford West Gwillimbury great."
The MPP noted, "This is when Bradford West Gwillimbury truly shines, and this year there’s so much more to celebrate. I am pleased to announce our government is moving ahead with the Bradford Bypass.”
Mulroney said that every Bradford resident has a story to tell of being stuck in traffic, and added, “This is a critical piece of infrastructure that will help secure the economic development of this region for ears to come.”
Then it was back to the party, for more music, more food, and more fun.
CarrotFest continues today, starting at 9 a.m. with the opening of the huge vendors’ market, with hundreds of booths and food trucks. There will be a full day of entertainment on the Main Stage, including Elite Dance Corps, The Fire Guy, and live bands, and much more at the three Busker pitches. Don’t miss the fire jugglers, break-dancers and BMX stunt show, and the Flaming Carrot Fire finale at 7 p.m.
The KidsZone, with its free bouncy castles and slides, returns on Holland St. East.
Over at the old Bradford Community Centre at 125 Simcoe Rd., catch the AquaDogs championships, on both Saturday and Sunday. There will also be pony rides and a Youth Zone at the old arena, and professional PWA Wrestling, with a free show at 11:30 a.m., and paid show at 6:30 p.m.
Come out and get back to your roots – and don’t forget to pose with mascots Gwilly and Captain Carrot.