Art on the Waterfront organizers cancel Chesterville event; look forward to 10th anniversary in 2021

An annual tradition, Art on the Waterfront draws crowds to Chesterville during the first weekend in June. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

CHESTERVILLE — After much discussion and consideration regarding COVID-19, Art on the Waterfront (AOTW) organizers have decided to cancel their June weekend event.

“We had to make the difficult yet inevitable decision to cancel this summer’s event,” says AOTW Chair Cheryl Beasley. “With the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated health risks and physical distancing measures currently in place, we are trying to do our part to continue to help flatten the curve.”

Originally slated for June 6-7 this year, the annual Art on the Waterfront attracts over 1,000 attendees to downtown Chesterville.

“We’re disappointed to have to make this tough yet necessary decision,” says Beasley. “A short time ago, we weren’t even considering a cancellation. But the pandemic’s reach across Canada is enough reason to
take a step back this summer and do what’s best.”

The AOTW committee reports asking all members for their insight. Beasley later spoke to other festival
organizers to ensure that AOTW organizers were not making a decision without solid and well-researched
information.

Beasley adds the sponsorship team didn’t feel comfortable asking businesses for funding at a time when layoffs and closures are occurring — a concept she completely supports.

“Not only are we working to support the physical distancing measures to help reduce the spread, we’re
also considering the businesses who sponsor us each year,” says Beasley. “We’re a small community and
while the event is such a beloved annual tradition, we are respecting the needed measures to protect both
our health and economy. This is the time for us to support our local businesses in different ways.”

The committee will take the next few days to reach out to notify sponsors, vendors, volunteers and musicians slated to support the event.

On the eve of Art on the Waterfront 2019, event organizer Michael ‘tic’ Houston (left) poses with Peter Gilroy, owner of Ottawa Special Events, who grew up in Chesterville. One of Gilroy’s professional stages appears in the background, a featured attraction at AOTW and showcase for the scheduled musical acts that begin tomorrow, Sat., June 1st. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

North Dundas Mayor Tony Fraser commends the AOTW team for their dedication.

“It is truly unfortunate that this year’s Art on the Waterfront festival has been cancelled. While cancelling AOTW was a difficult decision, I want to thank the organizers for making the right decision,” says Fraser.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank the committee member and volunteers for their passion and dedication for providing the citizens of North Dundas and visitors to our area with nine years of art, culture, music and entertainment, and for allowing the arts community to display their talents. I look forward to next year’s event: it will be a time when we can all gather and celebrate music, art, food and being together as a community. I am confident AOTW’s 10th Anniversary will be better than ever.”

AOTW committee members include:

Cheryl Beasley — Chair, Vendor Coordinator
Michael Houston— Main Stage Coordinator, Music Programmer
Margaret MacDonald — Communications/Social Media Coordinator
John Thompson — Councillor, North Dundas Liaison
Karen Ray-Stewart — Treasurer
Taunya Van Allen — Secretary
Lindsay Geroux — Sponsorship Coordinator
Suzanne Millaire-Steele — Talent Show Coordinator
Brian Barr and Christina Kozmin — Kids Zone Coordinators
Darcy Paquet — Volunteer Coordinator
Dan Gasser and Des Desarmia — Beer Tent Coordinators

Email the committee at info@artonthewaterfront.ca.

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