BeechFest – a new year, a new name for Beechwood’s annual fall festival
Beechwood Avenue’s annual fall festival is getting a bit of a revamp this year.
The street festival plans to switch out its old name, East Feast, for a new one – BeechFest.
The name tweak highlights a change in programming.
What was once a food-heavy festival – hence it’s feast-filled name – the festival will be adopting more of a family feel and offering more family-friendly activities and times.
The festival will take place along Beechwood Avenue on Sept. 7, 2019 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Rideau-Rockcliffe Coun. Rawlson King said the change is largely based on the varied interests of the communities which call Beechwood Avenue their main street.
“The name change represents the continued renewal of the event and responsiveness of the community to the fact that the event programming goes way beyond the excellent culinary scene on Beechwood, to also represent arts and culture and sport,” King said.
The event is organized by the Quartier Vanier BIA, of which King is the newest member of the BIA’s board, having been recently elected in the Rideau-Rockcliffe byelection on this past spring.
An active community member before taking his seat on council, the new councillor said he has loved attending the festival over the years and is looking forward to it once again this year, but this time as a contributor.
“’I’ve attended BeechFest in the past and found it to be quite an exciting event. It is arguably one of the largest outdoor festivals in our area, with 3,000 people in attendance, that allows residents and visitors from outside the city check out local businesses, chefs, breweries, wineries, children’s organizations and community groups,” he said.
Executive director of the BIA, Nathalie Carrier said the changes this year are all aimed at making the event bigger and better.
“What we realized is this is a family gathering and so we want to make sure the family focus is not lost,” she said.
And given that Vanier is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, Carrier said it is important to make this year memorable.
So far, programming for the festival includes:
- More children’s programming
- More food and more varieties of it!
- Celebration of Vanier’s 50th anniversary
- More merchant participation
- More people and more fun!
The event, created in 2016, closes off Beechwood Avenue from Marier Avenue to St. Charles Street to vehicular traffic, turning the area into a pedestrian space. In the past, local restaurants and shops along Beechwood Avenue participated by selling food, promoting their business, performing on the main stage or offering activities.
King said he feels street festivals, like Beechfest, are important because they allow residents to express community pride and demonstrate what makes their neighbourhood’s special.
Carrier said it is this sentiment that the BIA hopes to gain interest from more community partners to participate or sponsor an activity at the event.
“One of the great benefits of the festival is the strong relationships it fosters in the community,” King said. “Beechfest forges bonds among service organizations, municipal government, and neighborhood groups and creates better connections with elected officials, volunteers and interested residents.”
BIA members, organizations or individuals who are looking to participate or support BeechFest can contact Carrier at email@example.com.