Changes in store for Westboro Fuse, again

By Alyson Queen – 

With a new producer hired and businesses making plans, the countdown is on for the new Westboro Fuse, now scheduled for August 26 and 27.

The Kitchissippi Times has learned that Catherine Landry of ‘Call Betty!! Events’ has been hired to produce the two day summer festival celebrating all things local. A follow-up event is planned for September.

“There will be street closure. There will be performances, live urban art installations, pop-ups, loads of things for the kids, diversity – all kind of things going on,” says Catherine. With only two months to go, she has been busy engaging business owners and “moving at the speed of light.”

“Bringing community and local business together – and fusing them. That’s the heart of the festival,” she says.

As reported earlier this year, last year’s event was an underwhelming replacement for Westfest and resulted in a financial deficit, causing the Westboro BIA to go back to the drawing board. Business owners were also split on the benefits they saw.

Earlier this year, Board Chair Dr. Dan Hwang had said Fuse would be split into multiple events over the summer but after careful consideration, the Fuse taskforce, headed up by Sheba Schmidt, decided on a weekend event late in the season. “It’s going to be amazing. We’re very excited now,” says Sheba.

File photo of Sheba Schmidt by Andrea Tomkins

Although details of the two day festival will be revealed next month, plans are already underway. The Piggy Market is planning a daytime pop-up farmer’s market so that festival-goers can meet farmers and growers. In the evening there will be a “charcuterie and chardonnay” artisanal food tasting under the Winston Chandelier. There is even talk of a pig roast. And Holy Hot Yoga! at All Saints Church will donate proceeds to the Cornerstone housing project. Catherine is particularly excited about Second Floor Superstars – an opportunity to meet and greet Westboro business owners who aren’t at street level.

As for the September event, Sheba says there was a desire to have a separate event focused on fashion. For now, the big job is in the hands of the retailers to come up with innovative ideas to showcase their business and goods.

Fuse is aimed at Westboro residents but is also designed to entice visitors to eat, shop and play. “I got involved because of my passion for local,” says Catherine. “We hear people complaining about Ottawa. People need to realize we’ve got it really good here.”

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