Countdown is on for Cornwall Food Fest

Organizers and sponsors of the second annual Cornwall Food Fest gather at Pommier Court Thursday, July 14, 2016 to put up a sign and kick off the countdown to the fundraising food festival. Cornwall Food Fest is Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – “Cornwall loves their food, they really do.”

Cornwall Food Fest organizer Jane McLaren says food vendors are making sure to stock up this year after some ran out of food in 2015 during the first edition of Cornwall Food Fest – a fundraising street festival for Beyond 21.

“They are coming prepared this year with a lot more food and they’re really excited,” McLaren told Cornwall Newswatch Thursday, as organizers gathered at Pommier Court, at the corner of Pitt and Second Streets, to put up a sign promoting the second annual event.

“Preparations are excellent. We’re right into the final stages. All of our vendors are set to go. We’re just doing final confirmation with them and getting ready to roll everything out with the city,” McLaren said.

The August festival has more food vendors and artisans as well as Focus Art is on board, she said.

New this year is a partnership with CoTiCon – Cornwall’s tiny convention at the Cornwall Civic Complex – which is also going on the same day.

There are plans for a parade through the Pitt Street festival with Stormtroopers from the Ottawa-based 501st Legion.

This is the second year for the event and McLaren said there’s definitely a learning curve in getting an event like this together.

“Some of feedback we got last year is people wanted more vegetarian more gluten-free options. We’ve definitely been able to that in terms of the food,” McLaren told CNW.

While there were concerns last year over blocking off Pitt Street to traffic and how it would affect businesses, McLaren said the impact from a business perspective was “tremendous” in a good way.

“Both from the local restaurants and the local stores. Not only is the downtown on board but stores are typically closed on Saturdays are opening. We have some of the ones that don’t normally do food are doing food because they want to be part of the whole thing,” she said.

The street festival is Saturday, August 20, 2016 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Pitt Street, between First and Third.

This is the largest fundraiser for Beyond 21, which helps adults with developmental disabilities live connected, respected lives as well as allows them to contribute to the community.

“It brings in a lot of money for us, which is excellent. But this really puts us out in the community and people get to really know about Beyond 21,” McLaren said.

One change this year will see Beyond 21 ambassadors moving through the crowd and telling people in 45 seconds what the organization is about.

“So when people leave, they don’t realize that this is just a really cool street festival with a bunch of food, a bunch of artisans and a bunch of live music. They realize that there’s a purpose behind this.”

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