Saturday, February 20, 2010

28 Reasons I Love Hamilton... Reason 20

Why write 28 reasons I love Hamilton?

1. Hamilton is a CITY.
2. Location
3. Size (population)
4. Scale
5. Creativity and the arts
6. Buildings
7. Nature

8. Film industry
9. Markets and restaurants
10. Trails, paths, and running routes
11. Gore Park
12. Climate
13. Safety
14. Landscapes and views
15. The ability to live modestly
16. Sports teams
17. Schools
18. Entertainment options
19. The churches and (other faith groups)

20. Festivals and events

Cities have big, usually annual events. And a city like ours, with rich diversity in geography and population, has a HUGE variety of them.

Want a small sample of the yearly festivals in Hamilton? Take a look here. FoundLocally's listing is more comprehensive.

A couple years ago, I was walking through the IV and noticed a poster for the Mustard Festival. Later that week, I went back, ate a lot of corn, mustard and pretzels, saw couples dancing to big-band music.... and saw Ferguson Street used (for once) to its potential. It was awesome. I've gone every time since.

Festival of Friends is Ontario's LARGEST outdoor annual festival. And Gage Park hosts other events... the Mum Show, It's Your Festival, etc.

There's also the Dundas Cactus Festival, Locke Street Festival, Fringe Festival, Hamilton Harbour Fishing Derby, Festitalia, Localicious, Wingfest, GritLit... and that's just scratching the surface. I'm really looking forward to the Turkish Festival this year as well.

There's also fairs in Binbrook, Ancaster, and Rockton ones and the Winona Peach Festival. (And while it isn't Hamilton, we're very close to Niagara Grape and Wine too!)

More commercial events are here too, like the woodworking and RV/home shows - or even Lululemon sample sales... and events that occur with more frequency, like the James North Art Crawl.

Unfortunately, we do a bad job of promo for most of these. Most of these are things I've only seen a year or two since moving here, or been to because they're in my neighbourhood. I've found things like this 60-page Tourism Hamilton Guide only by searching for something unrelated.

(Tourism Hamilton's banner doesn't actually indicate they're located in the Pigott building - I lived here for two years before I realized you could actually go into that location and get information [Once or twice I've seen some students at a kiosk for them in the park. Why they can't hire a couple summer students with a summer jobs grant to walk around as Hamilton ambassadors through the core is beyond me])

They'll get even more important as Hamilton's economy and population continues to shift. Festivals and events in places like Gore Park make it a destination and draw people into places they haven't been before, while places like Gage Park and Ferguson Street are used to their potential. They provide a gathering place for a diverse cross-section of people, and most of them are inexpensive or free with the option to buy food, items, etc. And they employ a lot of local people.

I love the festivals and events that we have in the city. And that's another reason I love Hamilton.

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