Haliburton Art and Craft Festival returns to Head Lake Park

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Seventy-five artisans, live music and even gigantic colourful birds will descend on Head Lake Park for the return of Haliburton County’s largest arts celebration July 22-24.

 The Haliburton Art and Craft Festival, running annually for 59 years, is back after a two-year pandemic hiatus. “It’s a friendly and inspiring festival,” said Rails End Gallery and Arts Centre director Laurie Jones, who has been preparing for the weekend alongside a crew of 30 volunteers. 

“When I talk to our volunteers, I say our job here is to inspire people to want to learn more about art in general.” 

There are vendors from all over the art world, including sculptors, painters, woodworkers, jewellers and more.

“We want it to be accessible. People who come to our festival will find something in their affordability scale,” Jones said. 

There will be a range of art for sale from thousand-dollar ornate carvings to handcrafted greeting cards. There will be live music and performances by Les Chasseurs de Rêves, a performance troupe that performs dances on stilts emulating colourful birds. 

The festival draws hundreds of visitors from outside of Haliburton County each year. Jones recommends festival-goers consider getting dropped off to avoid the difficulty of finding parking around Haliburton. 

There will be a designated drop-off parking spot in front of the gallery on York Street, with public parking available around Haliburton and at the A.J. LaRue Arena. 

There are three entrances to the festival: York Street, the bridge beside the Head Lake bandshell, and the boardwalk near the Head Lake Welcome Centre. 

Admission is by donation, with a tap option to donate with credit or debit cards. 

Plenty of washrooms will be available, including all the stalls at the welcome centre and additional portable washrooms. Jones suggests people check out the Rails End Gallery website, which lists the artists exhibiting and profiles their work.

“They can see who is new, who is returning,” Jones said. The festival runs noon to 5 p.m. July 22, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 23 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 24. To find out more, visit railsendgallery.com/ haliburton-art-and-craft.