on June 14, 2016 by test_editor in WEB-EXTRA content, Comments Off on Web-extra (June 16, 2016):Westfest’s New Venue … Rocked It!; Images Of Its First Weekend at Laroche Park.

Web-extra (June 16, 2016):Westfest’s New Venue … Rocked It!; Images Of Its First Weekend at Laroche Park.

Web-extra (June 16, 2016):Westfest’s New Venue … Rocked It!;
Images Of Its First Weekend at Laroche Park.

By Allyson Domanski.

Westfest 2016 has found a new home. One we hope they’ll stick to.  From June 3rd to 5th, Laroche Park on Bayview between Scott and the Ottawa River hosted this prelude to the summer festival scene and it was a roaring success. Apart from the day it rained cats and dogs.

Organizers have perfected the mix of activities and services. These included valet bike parking with smiley-faced attendants issuing stickies to associate saddle with rider, the golf-cart-riding Security Detail and helpful volunteers ensuring everything would go smoothly. And smoothly it went.

Except for what cannot be organized: that downpour on Sunday. Sunny Saturday was superb, however.

The new venue in Mechanicsville, a shift east from Westboro, amply contained all the activities for all ages into one well-laid-out space. The Kid Zone splash-pad, a permanent fixture along with the swing set and seesaw in Laroche, was a huge hit on the north end of the park. Kids had the greatest time running through the sprinklers until the fountains shut off for a few moments and bewildered kids wondered where the water went before it sprang back up and gave them a wedgie. The long lines at the bouncy slide indicated its popularity, too.

At the south end of the park was the music stage that ran acts for twelve hours from 11 am to 11 pm. While people caught some rays they soaked up the tunes. They parked themselves on the dry grass; not so much in the VIP enclosure. (Hey, this is Mechanicsville, a community proud of its working class roots.) While the School of Rock children’s choir was belting it out, folks shielded from the sun beneath parasol and baseball cap, even bike helmet held aloft.

Lining the stroll between the north and the south ends of the park were all the merchants. Food trucks on the east side, commercial tents on the west side. There was something for everyone, from face painting and balloon crafts for the wee ones, to exquisitely woven sweet-grass baskets for sale by aboriginal artisans. Even an aboriginal tepee to explore.

Westfest has enjoyed a huge draw for over a decade now. Not only is it still free but it’s only gotten better: this year, there were no street closures for disgruntled drivers to whine about. Proximity to the transportation hub of Bayview Station eased parking pressures, too. Very cool was that Westfest honoured the land on which the festival took place by recognizing that this un-ceded Algonquin territory was never given up and never surrendered. Nice touch, organizers!

As for next year, y’all come back now, y’hear?

Woman in wheelchair passed Capital City Dance tent who demo their steps.

Dance Break.

Photo Caption: Not Just music, but Dance too. Westfest had something for all. Photo by Allyson Domanski.

Collage of 2 images showing 3 and 1 volunteer.

Valet Parking.

Photo Caption: Volunteers make it all possible even in the VIP section. Photos by Allyson Domanski.

Collage of 3 images of the children on the splash pad

Makes its Splash Everywhere.

Photo Caption: Laroche Park’s playground splash pad got some of its early season started. Photos by Allyson Domanski.

collage of 2 images

The Seesaw and The Slide

Photo Caption: And the Laroche Park playground seesaw competed with the long lines at the Westfest bouncy slide. Photos by Allyson Domanski.

collage of 3 images showing the stage near the iconic Church, and the kids' choir aligned on the stage, plus a large audience on the grass.

Sunny just Rocks.

Photo Caption: The stage at the south end hosted local children’s choir School of Rock to a large audience in a scenic venue. Photos by Allyson Domanski.

collage of 2 images

Hammer Down!

Photo Caption: More kid’s activities were organized in the fun zone like this catapult carney game. Photos by Allyson Domanski.

collage of 4 images

Buyer Wares.

Photo Caption: The Food trucks and the row of vendors at the north end had a wide variety of wares and cultures to highlight, including fresh Turkish flat-bread, Native art and a tepee to explore. Photos by Allyson Domanski.


[Ed: This web-extra appeared in the June 23rd print issue of Newswest as “Westfest’s New Venue Rocked It; Laroche Park fills the bill“. For more web-extras on this year’s Westfest see http://newswest.org/easyread/archives/5322 ]


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