Port Hope Arts Festival returns Aug. 10

By Cecilia Nasmith

An impressive line-up of musical and artistic talent will be part of the ever-growing Port Hope Arts Festival, which begins at 8 a.m. Aug. 10.

It's a free outdoor event marking its 16th anniversary with a celebration of art, agriculture, music and community.

The Saturday Farmers' Market offers a venue for art and farm vendors to show off Northumberland County's colourful, diverse culture in the talents and products of local and regional artists. The market will be extended until 3 p.m. for the occasion, and shoppers can expect more than 45 retailers offering a wide range of hand-made original products along with their favourite local-food options.

At nearby Memorial Park, live entertainment is on at the bandshell between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., as well as a summer barbecue and lots of interactive kids' activities. This year's bandshell line-up includes Josh Armstrong and Nicolas Campbell (10 to 10:45 a.m.), Matt Marcuz (11 to 11:45 a.m.), Mayhemingways (noon to 1 p.m.), Ted Staunton and Saskia Tomkins (1:15 to 2 p.m.) and Diane Rock (2:15 to 3 p.m.).

A new addition this year is the Juried Exhibition across the street at the Port Hope Public Library. Selected pieces are now on display, with voting for the People's Choice Award open until Aug. 9. On Aug. 10, a show and sale of these works runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In the council chambers at Town Hall, the element of drama is added to the mix in the form of a play reading, with three performances. Taking Liberties by Dave Carley examines five critical moments in the life of a city, when ordinary citizens are forced to make extraordinary choices. The play spans five decades, illustrating how the moral dilemmas of one era can impacdt the events of another. There are performances on Aug. 9 at 8 p.m., and on Aug. 10 at 3 and 8 p.m. Admission is by donation at the door.

This year, the festival experience extends beyond the downtown with the new Art On The Porch feature. Five local artists will open up their porches to members of the public Aug. 10 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the viewing of an eclectic assortment of art pieces.

“The Port Hope Arts Festival is truly a celebration of the incredible culture that we have to draw from here in Port Hope and throughout Northumberland County, and it provides a platform for multi-generational programming for our residents and visitors,” Port Hope Mayor Bob Sanderson said in the municipality's press release.

“It is one of our premiere events, and we look forward to hosting it each year.”

For more details about the festival, visit