With a huge passion for the arts I may be a bit biased but, perhaps you will agree with the fact that the Cathedral Village Arts Festival (CVAF) is one of the city’s best annual events. And, it’s nearly here -- returning again from May 18-23! This event, now in it’s 24th year is definitely on my hit list each and every year - rain or shine. If you haven’t been, let me tell you what you are missing. It’s so much more than a street fair. If you think the CVAF is solely about wandering the Cathedral Village’s 13th Avenue pondering local wares and treats, you have been missing out on its larger offering. It’s about community – the whole community coming together in the heart of the city. It’s also about our culture - embracing it, supporting and celebrating it. And, it’s not just me who keeps coming back for more. The festival attracts nearly 40,000 people each year! And, really it’s no surprise. The CVAF brings together folks of all ages together over six days, continuing to shine year over year, growing bigger and better. Here are a few reasons I cannot get enough of this wonderful Regina event: It’s a place to support local talent Non-juried artwork – shopping the CVAF exposes you to new, avant-garde and professional artisans selling their wares. I have picked up many items for my personal collection from handcrafted birdhouses to one-of-a-kind prints, and ceramics to a wooden bench carved from a large tree trunk, to name just a few. Along with a wide range of artwork, clothing and jewelry, the street festival portion (which takes place on Saturday - May 23rd, from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.) also features vendors selling fresh produce, baked goods and more. Local retailers who make their home along 13th Avenue and its adjacent side streets also tend to take their shops outside for the day. It’s your community Even though I head directly to the street fair portion of the event as soon as it opens to avoid the massive crowd (I’m a tad claustrophobic), I always enjoy running into many friendly faces. People come together at this event and it’s easy to see how much they enjoy it as they amble along. Along with being a place to shop, it’s certainly a great time and place to gather. Expect to see people in character, dressed to the hilt in costumes. From those who simply don extraordinary getups to sporting knight’s armour and bright belly dancing attire – people delight in the opportunity to let loose and have fun during the event. It’s a family affair I never have attended the festival without my kids. There is as much for them to do as there is for me. During the street festival we usually shop for a bit, grab some lemonade and lunch via a food truck, then head over to the kid’s area for some more fun. This event is a family affair, so bring everyone along with you - even the family dog is welcome! It’s a celebration The variety of artistic offerings throughout the festival celebrates the diversity of talent in our city. Keep your eyes open for the spontaneous dance jams and marching bands that seem to just appear in the middle of a tree-lined street. And, you are bound to catch a spur-of-the-moment, pop-up parade or two weaving their way in and out of the crowds. It’s more than a one-day event There is so much to do during the CVAF, and the great news is that with six full days of activities you can definitely find some time that works best for you. Regina is home to remarkable artisans across the board and the CVAF is the best event to take in the diversity of such talents. From junior violinists to some of city’s most revered musicians – taking in music, drama or dance at the festival, whether it’s along the way of your walk, or in a tent – is easy (and highly recommended!). Also consider joining in on a picnic, attending an art clinic, buying some jewelry, eating some fudge, enjoying a skit, grabbing a pint and polkaing your heart out! These are just a few suggestions of how to make the most of the Cathedral Village Arts Festival. Check out the CVAF schedule here to make the most out of this wonderful event.