By Alyson Queen –
The programming is confirmed, 200 businesses are lined up to swing open their doors and part – not all – of Richmond Road will be closed.
The Kitchissippi Times caught up with MaryAnne Petrella just days ahead of the official launch announcement. MaryAnne, who manages two businesses in the area, is on the Westboro BIA Board of Directors and the FUSE event task force.
“I think this year is really a standout, above and beyond from year’s past, because it’s bringing together all of the merchants and services,” she says. “We’re proud of our membership for coming out and wanting to be so involved.”
The free two-day street party is set for the end of the month as a showcase of all things local in the heart of Westboro Village.
Culinary features are a key component this year. There will be a competition on the main stage, and some restaurants and bars will have FUSE-inspired menu items and drinks.
Winston Square will be a prime location to sample a variety of local products, hosted by the Piggy Market. There will also be a farmer’s market. On the Saturday evening, organizers are dubbing a “Champagne-Charcuterie-Chardonnay” event under the chandelier as a “can’t miss.” Sunday will feature a pancake breakfast and pig roast.
There will be many pop-ups to choose from – offering everything from gelato by CoCoCo Chocolates to official Westboro FUSE peaches and cream cupcakes from the Cupcake Lounge.
Urban art also plays an important role this year. Local urban artist Robbie Lariviere has joined as director of “Artcatel” to organize art pop-ups, muralists, and workshops at FUSE. Highly recognized as one of Ottawa’s leading artists and influencers, Robbie’s work is featured on major brands downtown.
To bring a little vintage to the festival, Legend Records will have a pop-up where people can buy, swap and sell vinyl records.
Adding to the beat, will be tribal drummers from rooftops and a series of music jams on the street level.
The festival is family-friendly, with plenty of spaces specifically for the kids. Frontline Credit Financial, The Village Quire, West-End Kids, Napoli’s Pizza, and Alterna have gotten together to create an “unbirthday” themed and decorated space where children will receive party hats, treats, pizza, and swag bags. Otto’s will host a climbing wall, and Dovercourt will be providing an ever-popular bouncy castle and community stage among the many stations.
Holy Hot Yoga is one of the event’s most creative activities at All Saints Anglican/First United Church.
MaryAnne says the committee has been very pleased with the work of this year’s producer, Catherine Landry. “She has done an amazing job to get everyone excited and come together to ignite the street,” says MaryAnne. “The amount of programming is exceptional, and I think people really feel that ‘grassroots’ spirit this year.”
This year there is also a charitable component to the event, with proceeds going to the Westboro Regional Food Bank. There will be several ways for attendees to support the food bank, including an art auction and a corn roast by Farm Boy and Dovercourt.
Regarding street closures, Richmond Road between McRae Avenue and Churchill Avenue will be closed to traffic during FUSE, along with the stretch between Roosevelt Avenue and Golden. Churchill Avenue to Roosevelt Avenue will remain open to traffic. Ground floor shops will have the opportunity to set up on the sidewalk and in the parking lane, creating a funnel for FUSE attendees.
All areas are open to four-legged friends, provided they are on a leash.
If you’re peddling down to FUSE, look for valet parking at Bushtukah. They’re also hosting a tot trot and family 1km run.
The organizers are hoping to appeal to a wide audience by engaging people who live in the area to learn a bit more about their own community – but also to draw people in from the rest of Ottawa.
“We want to put Westboro on the map to showcase some of the interesting, distinctive elements of our district,” says MaryAnne.
Westboro FUSE takes place August 26-27. Full details are available at westborofuse.com.