DIDSBURY - After being forced to cancel last year’s festival due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers are very pleased that the 2021 Mountain View Arts Festival was well attended by guests and artists alike, says Merrilee Anthony.
The third-year president of the arts society, Anthony says bringing the festival back after the year absence was welcome news for everyone.
“It went very well and people were very enthusiastic and happy with the fact that we were able to put on the event,” she told The Albertan. “It was a little bit different format for us but it went very well.”
Held Sept. 11 and 12, the festival featured events in the Memorial Complex, the Didsbury Museum and elsewhere in town.
There was live music including by roving musicians, rock painting, puppets, chalk art, a family dance and art market.
A highlight again this year was the many local artists giving demonstrations of their work, sharing the art experience with guests of all ages.
“With so many people suffering from isolation COVID-19 has brought, it is particularly important for us to encourage and support artists,” she said. “We are passionate about bringing (the community) the arts in various forms.”
As in the past, this year’s volunteers were vital to the success of the two-day arts extravaganza, she said.
Artists scheduled this year included Bill Anthony, Chelsea and Aaron McLaughlin, John Smythe, Robin Rohl, Yvonne Werkman and Shirin Yamolky.
Musicians scheduled this year included Ally Crampton, Skyler Kalden, Camille Labrecque, Devin Cooper, Nikki Wozzo, Liz, Ryan and Corynn Sande, Craig Young and Rhonda Shippy, Wade Neufeld, Dustin Farr, Mike Crampton, 2A Community Band, Prairie Wool, Gary Giesbrecht and Friends, Jeske Band, Tim Hus, and the Travelling Mabels.
Music at the museum included scheduled performances from Echoes of the Prairie, Calum Lykan Storytelling, Mary Hatcher, North West Mounted Police Band Commemorative.
Members of the Victorian Society of Alberta attended the festival dressed in costumes from the 1880-1914 age.
The Mountain View Model Railroad Club ran trains at the museum grounds, and the museum had several new exhibits on display.
Festival mascot Art the Bear hosted an all-ages Bear-Day Party in the museum’s Mercantile Room.
The Didsbury Lions shuttle helped move people from the various venues.
Many local and area business and community partners helped make the 10th annual festival possible.
Anthony says although most of the guests and participants were from Mountain View County-area towns and surrounding rural areas, there was also a good turnout from people outside the district.
This year's festival included COVID-19 prevention measures, including indoor masking and social distancing.
Officials are planning to hold the 11th annual festival in 2022, she said.