Published June 30, 2022

Kempenfest Is Back This August Long Weekend



Every year during the August long weekend, Kempenfest heads to Barrie’s Waterfront. The festival is one of Ontario’s biggest and best waterfront festivals with nearly 500 exhibits.

2020 should have marked Kempenfest’s 50th anniversary, but closures delayed the celebration. So this year, Kempenfest is celebrating their 50th edition July 29 to August 1, 2022. 

Here’s 6 reasons you won’t want to miss this year’s event …

1. Arts & Crafts Show 

The Arts & Craft Show is the main attraction at Kempenfest every year. With over 300 artisans and craftspeople spanning 2 km of waterfront, the event is one of Canada’s largest Arts & Crafts shows. 

This year's show will have 3 main categories of vendors. 

  1. Original Arts & Crafts – Handmade, usually one-of-a-kind pieces made by the on site artisan. You can find most of these vendors at Centennial Park. 
  2. Tastes of Kempenfest – Items for and from the kitchen that are not commercially produced. You can find this category of vendors between the Tiffin Launch and the Sundial.  
  3. The Marketplace – New and innovative products that aren’t being sold retail, additional arts and crafts sold by someone other than the maker and Canadian Products. You can find these vendors between the Main Stage and the Sundial. 

Vendors are carefully selected each year to meet the Festival’s high standards. If you would like to see who will be at the arts & craft show, a vendor list will be published on their website later this month. 

2. Antique Show 

In addition to the Arts & Crafts show, Kempenfest attendees can also visit the annual Antique Show. The antique show is another big draw for Kempenfest and has been a part of the festival for nearly 18 years. 

There will be 40 exhibitors from across Ontario with a variety of antiques and collectibles. This includes small items like jewelry and signs. But there will also be larger statement pieces, such as harvest tables and corner cabinets. 

Best of all, you can be sure that every item is truly vintage/antique as no reproductions are allowed. 

3. Live Music

Another favourite for Kempenfest attendees is the live music.

The festival has two stages. The first is the OLG Main Stage. This stage provides free entertainment Saturday and Sunday Afternoon. In the evenings and on Monday afternoon, the main stage will host ticketed shows. 

“People are asking for the Stampeders, April Wine, Lighthouse – you know, the ones that we used to rely on,” shares Tom Aikens, the Sponsorship and Marketing Coordinator for Kempenfest. 

While these bands are always a great draw, Tom explains that this year the festival will be targeting a different generation. 

“This year, [Kempenfest is] targeting a younger consumer, which is good for us … and good for the community. It's a good lineup, very different from what we've had in the past … it's gonna be, I think, one of the best events we've ever had.”  

This year’s paid shows will include performances by: 

  • The Sheepdogs on Friday, July 29 at 5:30 PM
  • Death From Above 1979 on Saturday, July 30 at 5:30 PM
  • Tebey on Sunday, July 31 at 5:30 PM
  • Practically Hip on Monday, August 1 at 12:00 PM

You can find the second stage at the Turkey Farmers Kids Village. The KOOL FM Family Stage will have tons of great entertainment from magicians to caravan dancers to local bands. 

RELATED: 5 events you don't want to miss in Barrie and the surrounding area ...

4. Kids Village 

The Turkey Farmers Kids Village is one of the newest attractions at Kempenfest. On top of live performances at the KOOL FM Family Stage, it also features activities for kids and their families. This includes interactive games, a drum circle, art workshops by MacLaren Art Centre and face painting. 

The Kids Village will also host professional wrestling events every Saturday and Sunday night.

“We've joined forces with Barrie Wrestling, who've been doing some events the past few years. And they tell me people love it. It's a great family event, very clean …  it's family fun,” Tom shares. Leading up to the wrestling events on Saturday and Sunday night, two great bands will warm up the crowd – Where Were You In 72 and 90 Nines.

Kempenfest also has a great midway next to the Kids Village. The midway features classic carnival rides and games from Robertson Amusements – a traveling theme park that prides themselves on fun and safety. The midway also has food vendors with carnival favourites, like cotton candy, caramel apples and popcorn. 

5. Delicious Food And Drink 

In addition to all the attractions, visitors can also buy a variety of food and treats throughout the festival. This includes over 35 local food trucks and vendors with a variety of dishes.

If you’re looking for a refreshment during the festival, you can visit the Beer Garden at the Main Stage or the Oasis Lounge in Centennial South Park.

In previous years, these venues were sponsored by national brands, but this year, Tom is excited to share that the festival is going local. 

“To have Muskoka Breweries and Georgian Bay Spirit onboard was a big win for us.” Tom continues, “Muskoka Breweries is going to be our official beer supplier and Georgian Bay Spirit Company will be our ready to drink supplier … That's two big changes for us from big national brands to local brands but both are huge in their brand categories. So, for us to have great product and something local for us is so meaningful.”

6. Show Support For Community Organizations

Kempenfest is a local event that is all about supporting the community. That’s because many of the Kempenfest attractions are organized by local charities and organization. 

Sponsorships and ticketed shows cover overhead costs like entertainment, security, garbage and buses. But organizations running different elements of the festival keep any money they make. 

Tom shares, “In a good year, the charities would raise about a quarter million dollars for their various organizations. Mostly service clubs, all the big ones – Rotary, Kiwanis, Optimist, Knights of Columbus. Everybody keeps their money.”

These organizations then spread the money they’ve raised throughout the community. 

The Arts & Crafts Show is presented by Barrie Art Club and Kiwanis Club of Barrie. Profits from the show help fund grants for the Georgian College Fine Arts program and the Barrie Art Club’s Gallery. This gallery provides opportunities for local artists to display their work. 

The Arts & Crafts Show also provides funding to the Barrie Library, Simcoe County Museum and the MacLaren Art Centre. 

The Antique Show is hosted by the Optimist Club, which supports youth programs across Barrie. This includes Bowl for Kids Sake, an Easter Egg Hunt, Bowling for Special Needs, Beginner Golf and Simcoe County Chess.

Profits from the Antique Show also help support the: 

  • Women & Children’s Centre
  • Youth Haven
  • Seasons Centre for Grieving Children
  • Candlelighters Simcoe
  • Scouting

Kempenfest also has two beer tents. The first, located at the main stage, is run by Rotary Club of Barrie. The second is operated by the Knights of Columbus. 

Another non-profit organization that has a big role in Kempenfest is the Barrie Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber helps connect organizers with local suppliers so the festival can further support our community.

If you’re looking for a fun way to enjoy the nice weather during the August long weekend, stop by the 50th edition of Kempenfest. Entry is free and you're sure to find something fun to do all weekend long! 

What do you think of this article?

Have a breaking story?

Share it with us!
Share Your Story

What Barrie's talking about!

From breaking news to the best slice of pizza in town! Get everything Barrie’s talking about delivered right to your inbox every day. Don’t worry, we won’t spam you. We promise :)
Subscription Form
Consent Info

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Central Ontario Broadcasting, 431 Huronia Rd, Barrie, Ontario, CA, You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Related Stories