54th annual Muskoka Arts & Crafts Show runs July 15-17

It’s almost here!

Muskoka Arts & Crafts’ 54th Annual Summer Show is a much anticipated summer tradition in Muskoka, drawing visitors from everywhere to the beautiful grounds of Annie Williams Memorial Park in Bracebridge on July 15, 16 and 17.

One of Ontario’’s oldest and largest outdoor craft shows, the Summer Show brings 200 artists to Muskoka this year –- a lively mix of new and returning exhibitors from as far away as St. Francois De Madawaska, New Brunswick and as near as Bracebridge, Ontario.

A lot has changed since Muskoka Arts & Crafts held its first show in 1963. For that inaugural show, an estimated 3,000 people visited Memorial Park in downtown Bracebridge to view the work of more than 50 artists.

Today, an estimated 20,000 people visit the three-day show to see the artwork of 200 artists. What hasn’’t changed is that Muskoka Arts & Crafts’ Summer Show continues to be a visual treat for all who enjoy purchasing, collecting and learning about art and craft in all its forms.

“All the work presented at the Summer Show is handmade by the artists, in their studios, and is one-of-a-kind work of the highest quality,” says Elene Freer, the Executive Director for Muskoka Arts & Crafts who organizes the show.

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The 200 artists exhibit in all art and craft media including basketry, clothing, fibre, furniture, glass, jewellery, leather, metal, mixed media, painting, photography, pottery, sculpture, toys, weaving, wood working and more.

MAC’s most important fundraiser

Selecting the 200 artists who participate in the Summer Show is a formidable task due to the high caliber and large number of applications received by Muskoka Arts & Crafts. A panel of professional artists carefully juries all the applications. This year, sixty-three first-time exhibitors to the Summer Show were selected to join many of the familiar and returning artists. Discovering these new artists is part of the excitement of coming to the Summer Show.

The annual Summer Show is Muskoka Arts & Crafts’ most important fundraiser. Admission to the show is by donation and all the proceeds benefit this non-profit visual arts organization by providing support for its public art gallery as well as many artistic events that take place throughout the year.

When your stomach starts to growl, head over to the Food Court where there are delectable and lip-smacking items to enjoy en plein air. There’s something for every taste, including vegetarian, vegan, organic and gluten free foods.

The Summer Show is a smoke-free event. Why smoke-free? “The Summer Show is smoke-free because it responds to the public’s wish for smoke-free spaces, promotes a healthier lifestyle, helps to create a cleaner environment as well as helping to inspire smoke-free children,” replies Freer. Smoking is not permitted in the show area, within 20 meters of the playground or at any of the picnic tables as these are considered as pop-up patios.

Free parking is available within Annie Williams Memorial Park. Additional parking is also available on selected side streets (Spencer Street, Dill Street, Ewing Street, Spadina Avenue and Brofoco Drive) and for Friday and Saturday, at the Wellington Street Pentecostal Church located at 38 Wellington Street (just a short walk to the park). Accessible parking spots are located at Gate 1.

In the tradition of the last five decades, the 54th Annual Summer Show promises to live up to its well-earned reputation. Come and meet 200 talented artists and craftspeople, hear their stories, be inspired, see new work and purchase handmade works of art.

The Summer Show is held on the picturesque grounds of Annie Williams Memorial Park located at 50 Santa’s Village Road in Bracebridge. The new show hours are Friday, July 17, 10am-6pm; Saturday, July 18, 10am-6pm and Sunday, July 19, 10am-4pm. Admission to the Summer Show is by donation. All donations support Muskoka Arts & Crafts, which is a registered not-for-profit visual arts organization.

For more information about the exhibitors who will be attending as well as information about visiting the Summer Show, please visit their website at www.muskokaartsandcrafts.com or call 705-645-5501.

$30,000 in funding benefits 13 Bracebridge organizations

The Town of Bracebridge recently handed out over $30,000 in festival and event funding to 13 organizations in Bracebridge through the Town’s annual Event Tourism Grant Program.

Mayor Graydon Smith stressed the importance of festivals and events as a tourism driver for Bracebridge: “The Town’s funding assists these events in attracting out of town visitors, enhancing their unique programming and leveraging other funding opportunities.”

The Town made some changes to the Grant Program in the fall of 2015, which encouraged more sport tourism events to be attracted to the fund.

Half the organizations given funding are sports-oriented events

This year, approximately half of the organizations awarded with funding are sport-oriented events. Collectively, the awarded events attract approximately 25,000 people, many of which are out of town visitors using amenities such as accommodation, restaurants and shopping that in turn, drives spending into the local economy.

In addition to the Grants awarded this June, two additional Grants were given out in the winter of 2016 for the BIA’s Fire and Ice Festival and Muskoka Limberettes Muskoka Classic Competition.

The Town of Bracebridge is committed to the importance of festivals and event, not only as a sign of a healthy and vibrant community, but also as an economic generator. For more information about the Town’s Event Tourism Grants call 705-645-6319 ext. 261 or visit www.bracebridge.ca.