By Mike Anderson
The Painted Perch Festival made its triumphant return last weekend after a two-year hiatus.
Hundreds of people, young and old, packed the Jackson’s Point parkette on August 13 to experience the simple joys of being a kid again.
The nerf shooting gallery, jewellery-making table, costume characters, and face painting put a smile on just about every kid’s face.
Meanwhile, the grown-ups, also in a good mood, enjoyed dozens of vendors and crafters while tapping their toes to live music from local favourites Neal Chapman and The Bad Brothers, and The Connors Brothers.
There was also no shortage of good eats, including delicious Argentinian Empanadas from Wela’s Kitchen and ice cream from Happy Treats, where for the price of $3.50, one could try the “Green Monster,” a chocolate-dipped dill pickle with sprinkles.
And, of course, there was a chance to judge an impressive selection of Painted Perches, pre-purchased as cutouts and painted by entrants, with more than one person second-guessing their choices.
One of the biggest smiles belonged to Steve Jacobson, Chair of the Jackson’s Point BIA, who organized the festival, traditionally the largest summer event at the Point.
“It’s important to bring people out in public again,” said Jacobson, who started the festival more than ten years ago and began planning for this year’s event in January.
“It’s good to be back outside, have music in the park, and have a lot of vendors.”
“The parkette was jammed with 35 vendors thanks to The Pop Up Vendor Guy, Phil Greenspoon, who did an amazing job. “
Jacobson says the festival has become a signature event in Georgina, and even draws people from outside the town — 25 per cent of this year’s ballots had postal codes from outside Georgina.
“We do advertise outside the area. And the other interesting thing is we get a big increase from people coming from Keswick. And that’s great because they don’t often come to Jackson’s Point,” he said.
While the festival provides family fun and a much-needed tourism boost to Jackson’s Point, it’s also a great outlet for local artists, and those who aspire to be artists.
“If you see the work that here’s today, it’s hard to pick a winner in a lot of these categories,” Jacobson said.
“It’s great to see so many entries from artists who have participated in every painted perch since we started, and we have a ton from first-timers.”
A total of 450 ballots were cast for the Painted Perches, which were grouped into seven categories.
While there were some repeat winners, like local artist Haylee Marfleet, who’s won six times, there were also lots of first-time winners, including Jacobson’s granddaughter Emma, who tied for 3rd place in the under-six category.
Here are the winners:
Best Council Fish: 1st Frank Sebo, Ward 4 Councillor; 2nd Mayor Margaret Quirk.
Best Business Fish: 1st Twigs & Co; 2nd Chico’s Hiking Sticks; 3rd EM Convenience.
Best Adult 3D Fish: 1st Susie Watson; 2nd Karin Cacciola; 3rd Nancy Banks
Best Adult Painted Fish: 1st Haylee Marfleet; 2nd Vince Rae; 3rd Kellsey Beattie.
Best 6 Under Fish: 1st Konstantin Klobucar; 2nd Olivia Power; 3rd Emma Jacobson and Bella Harper.
Best 7-11 Fish: 1st Rok Klobucar; 2nd Landen Waller; 3rd Ellie Anne Wehymer and Vanessa Cipolone
Best 12-16 Fish: 1st Jenna Beatie; 2nd Amelia Cameron; 3rd Alysa Di Marco.
Jacobson wants to give a shout out to all the sponsors that made the festival possible this year, including the Town of Georgina, Jennifer Jones EXP Realty, Team Peroff Keller Williams, Walker Property Management and K Country 93.7 FM.
While he still thinks of the festival as his baby, Jacobson is looking for someone to take it over next year.
“I’m one guy. I got helpers to help on the day, but it’s still a lot of work,” he said.
“It’s time for somebody new to take it over with new ideas. I’ll be glad to help. But we need someone new to do it all.”
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