By Adam Feibel –
The many artists and small businesses of Hintonburg will come together for the first-ever Hintonburg Happening celebration in June, and the organizers say it’s already been a success.
It’s a festival that merges the ideas of Summer Baird and Anne Tessier, two active members of the community. Baird, owner of the Hintonburg Public House, wanted to hold a party at Somerset Square to get more people to come out to the area. Tessier, a local artist, was looking into organizing a studio tour in the area. The two heard about each other’s plans and decided to band together and go bigger.
“That’s when the Hintonburg Happening came about,” says Tessier.
The nine-day festival will begin with a launch party at Somerset Square on June 21, and continue with events every day until its closing party on June 29. The week will feature music, art, poetry, film, fashion, food and other fun. More than 30 artists and designers and 16 local businesses are set to participate in the festival.
“The whole idea was to bring the community together, and to showcase why it’s such a great place to live and work and play,” says Baird.
Social media will be a big part of keeping the buzz going throughout those nine days. They’re encouraging folks to snap photos and post them to Twitter and Instagram so that others will see what’s going on and want to join in.
The festival will also feature a window-decorating contest for Hintonburg businesses. “The judging is who has the most happening window. That’s the criteria,” says Baird. The contest will be aided again by social media, since the popularity of each window will help choose the winner.
Baird and Tessier raised more than $2,000 through fundraising initiatives from March through May, and they’ve also been helped by sponsors — mostly businesses, but some proud community members, too.
Justin Minnes, former owner of Cyclelogik on Wellington Street West, made a personal donation of $500 to help get the Hintonburg Happening off the ground.
“The Hintonburg community is awesome, it’s a lot of fun. Really cool people, really cool business, everyone gets involved,” says Minnes.
“When the opportunity came around to get involved, it seemed like a pretty easy decision to me.”
Kitchissippi city councillor Katherine Hobbs also helped out with another $1,000 to go toward promoting the area’s talent and effort.
“This event really highlights our businesses, but it also highlights our artists, and I think that’s a really important part of this,” says Hobbs.
Everyone involved in the festival is a volunteer, but the organizers say they’d like it to be successful enough that they can pay honorariums next year. But they say even now, the result is a good one.
“I think what we’ve been able to manage with just two people has been pretty good,” says Tessier.
“I liked the idea of bringing the businesses together,” says Baird, “and I feel like that’s happened.”
For more information about the Hintonburg Happening go to hintonburghappening.ca.