The Junction Streetfest in Guelph Sunday drew a huge crowd for the live music, food, drink and family-friendly activities, all in support of KidsAbility.
‘We’ve had such a great turnout that we’re hoping it will become an annual event, so we are calling this the first annual Junction Streetfest,” says event organizer Melissa Hare, from Granite Homes in Guelph.
The event was a fundraiser and a celebration of the ongoing rejuveniated Junction neighbourhood.
“KidsAbility is an organization that Granite Homes has supported in the past and usually we hold an annual golf tournament. But this year, we thought we would do something different. We thought that we have this amazing business community here at the Junction, so we all decided to come together to put this on.”
The Junction, located at 7 Edinburgh St. South, is a 45,000 sq.ft. mixed use development near downtown Guelph.
Junction businesses that took part in support of the Streetfest include: Granite Homes, Home Group Realty, Abe Erb and Fixed Gear Brewing Co.
“We wanted this to be an event everyone can enjoy, it’s a family affair,” Hare said.
“We’ve got food trucks and craft beer, family-friendly activities, face painting and the popular live-band, the Test Icicles. Everyone really enjoys them.”
Entry was free but anyone attending was asked for a donation. All proceeds support KidsAbility.
“We’re so amazed and so thankful at how generous the community has been,” Hare said.
“We’ve had 25 volunteers from the Junction Businesses volunteer their time. And we’ve also had so many donors. We could not have done this without them.”
Since 1957, KidsAbility has become a vital service in Guelph-Wellington and is recognized for its continued efforts in empowering children and youth with a wide range of complex special needs and in helping them realize and reach their full potential.
KidsAbility programs and services offer a range of rehabilitation services for children and youth from birth to school exit (which could be up until the age of 21 depending on when a youth leaves high school) and their families.
This includes children and youth with communication, developmental and/or physical delays or disabilities.
With a team of dedicated therapists, teachers, support staff and volunteers, 7,975 children and youth, from birth to school exit, have benefited from therapy and support services in Guelph, Cambridge, Fergus, Guelph, Kitchener and Waterloo last year.
KidsAbility is a member of Empowered Kids Ontario (EKO) which represents 21 Children’s Treatment Centres in Ontario, a strong and united voice across the province.
Funded primarily through the Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, KidsAbility is grateful to its donors whose generosity helps serve as many children as possible through a variety of innovative programs.
Lisa Talbot, executive director at the KidsAbility Foundation, was keen to greet and accept donations at the Streeetfest entrance.
“We are so grateful for the support from Granite Homes and the rest of the community for coming out and supporting KidsAbility,” Talbot said.
“Funds raised will help provide therapy and supports for kids with special needs. We see about 800 kids a year in the Guelph-Wellington.”
Over 1,200 people attended the Streetfest and about $13,000 was raised in support of the organization.
“When we were planning this, we also really tried to consider the neighbourhood. The railway is of course right here at the Junction. It’s a big part of the area. The band is performing in an old shipping container and we have someone doing graffiti art,” Hare said.
“This is an event we wanted the whole community to enjoy.”
For Mike Taylor, vice president of Business Development at Granite Homes, the event could not have been such a success without all of the community support.
“We were amazed by the support and number of people that joined us for our first annual Junction Streetfest. To surpass our fundraising goal and see so many neighbours and families enjoying themselves, is an extremely rewarding feeling,” said Taylor.
“We’re grateful to all of the sponsorship partners and donors who have helped make this day a huge success."