Summer Lovin’ at the Deep River Summerfest

The community of Deep River, Ontario. thriving in the sun again as Summerfest returns for the first time since 2018.

The Midsummer Weekend event – Deep River’s biggest weekend of the year – usually takes place every two years, but was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.

“It’s exciting,” Summerfest president Kristin Hawley said.

“It’s a lot of work, but definitely worth seeing everyone come together. Deep River Summerfest has become a bit of a reunion for some people and a bit of a homecoming.”

These ties could be seen all along the Depp River waterfront as the long weekend event got into full swing.

“I remember being downtown here with everyone, being around the bouncy castles and being with your friends, doing art,” recalls Grace Myers, who grew up in Deep River. but now lives in Ottawa. “Those are just very strong childhood memories.”

“We just come to see the family, listen to music,” adds his brother Ben Myers. “Our mum and dad still live here, our grandma still lives here too so there’s enough space for everyone to come and stay for the weekend.”

The weekend is also important for the town and its businesses, with a population of around 4,500 that nearly doubles when Summerfest rolls around.

“Summerfest has historically attracted close to three or four thousand people,” Deep River Mayor Suzanne D’Eon told CTV News. “It’s our biggest economic driver.”

While bringing the city together, Summerfest is also a local music festival, featuring a number of musicians from across the Ottawa Valley, many of whom may not have had such a grand stage before.

“I’ll tell you, it’s exciting,” says Kurt Wittig, guitarist for the Pembroke-based band Sawmill Road. “I haven’t seen some of these people for a few decades and I hope they come to enjoy what we have to offer today.”

Wittig grew up in Chalk River, a short drive from Deep River. He recently helped form Sawmill Road over the past year, which says Summerfest is their biggest show yet.

“Kurt has been saying for weeks that this is a to-do list,” singer Josh Coleman said. “So this one’s a big one.”

The festival, now in its 32nd year, aims to prioritize local talent.

“It’s fun to see your friends and family take to the stage,” says Hawley.

And like I mentioned, it’s kind of a reunion for a lot of people, so it’s great to have people that people recognize on stage.”

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