By Ewa Chwojko-Srawley
Despite the rain clouds hovering above Georgina on August 12, the Jackson’s Point parkette buzzed with dozens of vendors and hundreds of visitors.
All eyes were drawn to a vibrant display of painted perch cutouts arranged in several categories ranging from youngsters to local enterprises.
Why perch? For the simple reason that Lake Simcoe is the perch capital of Canada!
The Painted Perch Festival, initiated by Steve Jacobson, former Chair of the Jackson’s Point BIA, marked its 12th year under his guidance. It also marked his final time organizing this event.
“A new team took over the Jackson’s Point BIA in March, and there wasn’t enough time for them to organize such a big event. Hence, I stepped in to do it. They will lead the charge next time, with me providing a helping hand,” Jacobson said.
Chantelle Reynolds, the new Chair, assures the continuation of this cherished festival.
She recalls, “Growing up here, I remember many fun events for families. My aim is simple: maintain the festival’s current popularity. I want lots of people to come and discover Jackson’s Point – our hidden treasure. My goal is to strengthen our community bonds and bring together kids and adults.”
The organizers prepared lots of kid-approved extravaganza. From turning a school bus into an artistic wonderland that would make Picasso jealous to engaging in epic Nerf games. And let’s not forget the face painting that transformed innocent faces into roaring tigers or cosmic unicorns.
The most popular face painter was the 9-year-old artistic dynamo Elise, who set up her tent at the festival for the first time. Move aside, grown-up entrepreneurs – the future of face-painting has arrived, and she’s barely tall enough to reach the top of her booth.
The festival also accounted for the grown-up factor. While the kids went off to their games, adults played their version of ‘Treasure Hunt’ among the 40 vendors offering local products and artworks. They also listened to some great local bands, including Flashback, featuring Paul Connors, and Neil Chapman and the Bad Brothers.
And then came the moment we’ve all been waiting for – the grand unveiling of the champions!
The spotlight was on the Klobucar siblings, Alexandra, Konstantin and Rok, who have practically turned winning into an annual tradition.
Ward 4 Councillor Dale Genge bested her fellow councillors, claiming bragging rights with a first-place entry that showcased the Civic Centre.
And stop the presses! The Georgina Post snatched the crown in the fiercely competitive “Business Fish” category, with a fish that featured editorial cartoons, a loon carrying a rolled up newspaper, and the Jackson’s Point Lighthouse.
“The entries this year were spectacular,” said Jacobson.
“The talent in Georgina never ceases to surprise. The ingenuity was phenomenal, including our first two-sided entry from Twigs & Co.”
“Once again, the number of repeat entrants was strong. Many artists have submitted year after year, with several winners such as Haley Marfleet and Nancy Banks having won many years in a row.”
According to Jacobson, there was an increase in entries across all categories. Eighty-five kids’ cutouts were pre-purchased, with 72 adult entries, seven from councillors, and 19 local businesses.
While 71 percent of the votes cast were from Georgina residents, 18 per cent were from visitors, which underlines the festival’s continuing contribution to local tourism.
Jacobson said the count could have surpassed last year’s were it not for a brief yet torrential rain that sent many rushing for cover.
This year’s entries were jaw-droppingly fabulous, setting the bar sky-high for what’s to come next year. See you there, ready to make an even bigger splash!
LIST OF WINNERS:
BEST BUSINESS FISH: 1) GEORGINA POST; 2) TWIGS & C0; (3) GEORGINA CHAMBER
BEST COUNCIL FISH: 1) DALE GENGE; 2) DAN FELLINI; 3) DAVE NEESON
KIDS UNDER 6: 1) EMMA JACOBSON; 2) SAWYER SMALL; 3) OCTAVIA & FINN STRAECHE
KIDS 7-11: 1) ALEXANDRA KLOBUCAR; 2) KONSTANTIN KLOBUCAR; 3) MILANA HABA
KIDS 12-16: 1) ROK KLOBUCAR; 2) MAKAYLA AVES; 3) SLOANE HOGG
ADULT PAINTED: 1) HALEY MARFLEET; 2) KARIN CACCIOLA; 3) STEVE BROWN
ADULT 3D: 1) KATIE DAVISON; 2) SABRINA CHIANELLI; 3) NANCY BANKS
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