DATE: June 3, 2011
VENUE: Memorial Park in historic Streetsville, Toronto
AUTHOR: Lianne Gravitis
PHOTO CREDITS: Julie Heather Photography

The 39th annual Bread and Honey Festival, held at Memorial Park within historic Streetsville, ON, kicked off its weekend jaunt June 3rd, 2011 on a beautiful spring night. Originally founded in 1973 to celebrate the history of Streetsville, and attracting close to 60,000 people each year, the festival promotes community giving and engagement and raises its funds for each of the service groups working within the event. These groups range from the Girl Guides of Canada, and Habitat for Humanity (whom built 10 playhouses during the weekend), to the YMCA, Boy Scouts and various community church groups. The festival has taken almost a year to plan, with about 30 or more committee members on board (which includes 8 board of directors), whom volunteered hours of their time to make this year’s event a success.

With several hundred volunteers helping out (comprised of mostly youth), and organized to provide an “affordable family fun weekend” as per event coordinator Sandra Pitts, one cannot leave the event without experiencing some good ol’ fashion community entertainment. The Lions Carnival, which runs all weekend and is supplied by the local Lions Club, is sprawled across the grounds, and includes games, rides, free face painting, magicians, illusionists, food vendors, a train ride (sponsored by The Investors Group), the Hillbilly Show with Celebrity Pig Racing, and even a petting zoo. The first night is free, and attracts around 5000 local teens and families alone. With tables and chairs set up around the music stage, people have the choice of being serenaded by the sounds of such local bands as Powderfinger, Hot Rocks, Groove Alter, and The Ballroom Babies, or wander the beautiful grounds of the park. Unfortunately patrons attending the first night had to wait until Saturday or Sunday to taste the signature free bread and honey provided by ADM and Kraft, the festivals largest donators.

As Saturday morning rolled around, the rainy weather did not stop the annual festival parade to commence. Parade goers witnessed 90 year-old mayor Hazel McCallion leading the way, a tradition that got her a little wet as the parade moved through the towns streets. Pitts says about 30,000 people line the street each year to watch the parade, revealing the true community spirit of Streetsville. The Rotary Group held a pancake breakfast within the community hall (which raises money for Easter Seals), feeding all the damp, hungry attendees before they enjoyed the festivities within the park. To ensure that the teens and adults attending have as much fun as the children, an XBOX competition, “age appropriate bands and larger rides”, plus the addition of delicious deep fried Mars Bars were available for the teens, and a beer tent (hosted by the Mason’s), the Consumers marketplace, tea room, crafts and displays were set up for the adults and senior citizens. This year also featured free on-the-hour kayak lessons from Kayak the Credit, and a 25” foot climbing wall from Romag Contracting, both of which were generously donated. And to recognize the “need to increase multiculturalism (the event offered) a wide a variety of international foods…(and a) community stage where different organizations and ethnic groups (could) perform and promote themselves”, declares Pitts.

Additionally, recognizing the importance of honouring the environment, this eco friendly event provided a Hybrid Mississauga transit bus, distributed recycling bins around the park grounds (donated by Eco Media), and encouraged attendees to walk to the event rather than drive. A free shuttle service, donated by Mi Way Transit of Mississauga also ran service from two Go stations around the area. To generate awareness of the festivities, a successful media launch was performed two weeks before the event, Big Mobile signs, posters, and brochures were produced, social media outlets were created such as their website, Facebook and Twitter accounts, and there was the distribution of 155,000 flyer jackets to homes around the city. The festival has also been included into the Top 100 festivals in Ontario, which helps spread interest beyond the Mississauga area.
For more information about this year’s fun filled Bread and Honey Festival, please visit www.breadandhoney.ca.

Additional sponsors:

Premium Energy Drink, Good Year Tire (handed out free oil change coupons)
Mi Way Transit – http://www.mississauga.ca/portal/miway
Eco Media – http://www.eco-media.ca/
Romag Contracting – http://www.romagcontracting.ca/

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