After a pair of scaled down events during the COVID pandemic, the annual Dundas Cactus Festival will be returning to a full festival this weekend.
The event, held along eight blocks across downtown Dundas, will feature a main stage with ’80s hitmakers The Box from Montreal on Friday and David Wilcox on Saturday night.
Festival entertainment director John Balogh told Global News the spectacle will have pretty much everything attendees have enjoyed in the versions seen prior to 2020.
“We did a couple that were virtual festivals, but the essence of the live crowd just wasn’t there,” Balogh said.
The 2020 event was dubbed the “YouTube Dundas Cactus Festival” which featured performances entirely online, while the 2021 occurrence was a one-day live street festival.
This year’s edition begins Friday at 6 p.m. and runs until 11p.m. with Saturday’s affair from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
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King Street will be closed down and filled with 80 vendors, musicians, entertainers and amusement rides.
Returning are the Fortinos Family Fun Zone at King Street West and Market Street as well as four free entertainment stages including the Telus stage at King and Albert featuring multicultural events and performances.
One event change is the shelving of the Cactus Festival baby contest replaced with the Teddy Bear Picnic.
Balogh says organizers are optimistic about attendance for the 2022 edition via data received from co-op festival partners who’ve reported increases since their last full-on events in 2019.
“Festivals that have gone on already this year are reporting back some 20, 40, 50-per cent increases (in attendance) over the past years,” said Balogh.
“So that’s a pretty big green flag to me that tells us we are going to be packed from one end to Dundas to the other.”
Balogh says the event has had some challenges with volunteering and they’re always looking for more help.
Anyone interested in giving time or just looking for schedules and event information can check out the event’s website.
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