London events among list of top 100 festivals and events in Ontario: industry association

The Western Fair as seen in September 2010. Matthew Trevithick

Three local events have been given the distinction of being among the province’s top 100 festivals and events, according to the non-profit association representing Ontario’s festivals and events industry.

Festivals and Events Ontario (FEO) released its 2017 list on Monday, saying TD Sunfest, the Western Fair, and the Wine & Food Show were among those that “excel within the industry,” according to a media release.

Submissions were received for consideration in the fall and were judged on by an independent panel of judges, FEO said.

It’s the twelfth year in a row that TD Sunfest has been named on the list, according to Alfredo Caxaj, the festival’s executive and artistic director.

“It’s always a tremendous recognition for the effort and all the energy that we spend all year round preparing for a festival of the nature of Sunfest,” Caxaj said in an interview on Monday. “It’s also a tremendous encouragement to continue working and making the social-artistic life for this community a more interesting one, no question about that.”

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“I think the very unique thing about Sunfest is that Sunfest really brings the whole community together,” he continued. “It’s not for one particular demographic… but it’s for everyone. That’s the only occasion, perhaps, during the year where you see people of all different ages, all different culture or backgrounds, languages, and really that’s what really makes Sunfest… one of the most beautiful expressions of community.”

The province’s tourism minister said festivals and events created jobs in the province and brought communities together.

“I am pleased to join with Festival and Events Ontario in congratulating this year’s top 100 recipients,” Liberal MPP Eleanor McMahon said in a statement. “There are so many celebrations taking place across the province this year and our 150th anniversary is the perfect opportunity to get out and discover them.”

Western Fair was also one of a select number on a smaller list of Festivals and Events of Distinction, representing “some of the most well-known and respected celebrations in the province,” according to FEO.

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