CORNWALL, Ontario – Food Fest supporters officially nailed their announcement sign into the ground at Pommier Square on Tuesday, July 9, hyping up the public for Beyond 21’s largest annual fundraiser.
Mexican and Jamaican food, pad Thai, Asian tacos, poutine, beaver tails and bacon are just some of the options that can be expected on Saturday, Aug. 17. Admission into the festivities will cost $2, which equates to supporting one week of service at Beyond 21. The organization, which focuses on supporting adults with developmental disabilities, does not receive government funding, apart from program grants that are applied for and approved.
“People don’t (recognize adults with developmental disabilities). They often go about their lives and don’t interact with them. They’re a huge part of our community so we wanted something that celebrates a community and takes a community in order to achieve, and that’s what this event does,” said Executive Director Jane McLaren, who emphasized that community efforts are fundamental in supporting the dreams of locals who rely on Beyond 21 services.
McLaren is happy that Food Fest constantly gains recognition and involvement. This year will see four new food vendors to make for 15 different options (including 14 with vegetarian options), as well as eight new artisans to contribute to a multitude of local goods available. The Kinsmen Family Zone will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. where children can participate in a Kid Fitness program, test out different musical instruments and get their face painted, among many other activities. Live entertainment will also take place at two locations (Pitt St. at First St. and Pitt St. at Third St.) from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Additional events like a car show, canine obedience displays and a new Pumper Truck Pull will also keep attendees entertained.
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McLaren said that Beyond 21’s new location at 1924 Pitt St. is on track with what was expected and is slowly being renovated. The organization’s capital campaign has reached about a third of the overall goal of $750k. McLaren is looking forward to having a facility that will host programs for adults with developmental disabilities but also include all members of the public. Funds from Food Fest will not go towards renovations but instead will support programming for clients.
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Food Fest has already caused a stir on social media in regards to organizers incorporating a bacon truck this year. A group of protesters are set to express their opinions at the event. McLaren respect’s the protesters opinons and their rights according to City bylaws and said that vendors are encouraged to offer vegetarian options each year.