Saying that Hamilton loves festival would be an understatement. Our community has been offering an incredible array of festivals and events year round for well over 50 years that range from agricultural / horticultural to the arts, international to neighbourhood-based, contemporary to family-friendly.
The City of Hamilton amalgamated with its neighbouring communities almost a decade ago, but our community festivals are an integral part of ensuring that local history and traditions live on. Ancaster hosts its Heritage Days Festival, Dundas is known throughout the region for Cactus Fest, Winona Peach Festival is not to be missed, and Stoney Creek will take centre stage in 2012 for the Battle of Stoney Creek centennial, which will be an international event.
Our communities’ large-scale festivals bring together hundreds of thousands of tourists and local residents each year in the signature parks throughout the city. It’s Your Festival (Canada’s oldest Canada Day Festival), Festival of Friends, Dundas International Busker Festival, Mustard Fest and countless others ensure that our community has free and open access to explore our natural settings with the added bonus of great food, music, local artisans and entertainment.
From an economic perspective, Festival of Friends alone generates upwards of $17M in economic spin-off from its 3-day admission-free festival that attracts more than 300,000 visitors annually to Gage Park. This serves as a great example of how festivals and major events bring revenue to our community through hotel stays, in park purchases from local and regional vendors, and how they generate valuable employment opportunities for promoters, artists and local business.
In addition to these signature festival Hamilton has also started to generate a number of specialty festivals such as the Hamilton Food and Drink Fest, Hamilton Fringe Festival, Hamilton Pride Festival, Supercrawl, Aboriginal Days, Turkisk Fest, AGH International Film Festival, Water Festival, Winterfest and countless others. These festivals ensure that our diverse community has a strong voice and bring an arts and cultural influence from around the world to Hamilton each year.
Hamilton as a Creative Magnet
The growth of Hamilton’s creative cluster has been a noticeable trend over the past few years. Beyond local press coverage, it has caught the eye of the regional and national press a number of times and has garnered strong support in the community. The Globe and Mail, National Post, Toronto Star, Toronto Life, CBC Radio, among others, have focused new interest on the growing arts and culture scene in Hamilton: