By ELISSA DEN HOED
Whether you’re the old-fashioned type who values the handmade or whether you just like discovering unique treasures that can’t be found at the mall, the Heart & Hand Festival is the event for you.
This unique festival will be held at the Joseph Schneider Haus at 466 Queen St. S. in Kitchener on Sept. 24 and is a free outdoor event which celebrates, demonstrates and offers a hands-on experience to a wide variety of traditional crafts. Wandering the historical grounds, you can watch over 25 craftspeople including a potter, spinner, basket maker, metalworker, weaver, mask maker, calligrapher, doll maker, engraver, bead worker and gourd artist at work. All of the crafts will be available for sale and can be tried out – no experience needed. New this year is a “Best in Show” competition, and you’re invited to assist judges in choosing the winner.
The fun doesn’t stop at traditional crafts, however. According to the festival’s pamphlet, also featured this year are stories and music from the Baden Storytellers, a drum circle, an organ grinder and monkey, kid’s activities and even a town crier. Guelph-based singer James Gordon will perform his signature music and comedy at noon. He plays a variety of instruments – including the pennywhistle – and his songs often have historical, social justice or environmental themes. The Schneider Haus will be open for viewing as well.
Don’t forget to check out the Haus’s new washhouse while you’re there. “We’ve reconstructed one on our site and it will be open to the public for the first time at the festival,” assistant curator Antoinette
Duplessis said in an email. “The one we reconstructed is on the exact spot of the first Schneider washhouse.” The washhouse is where the Schneider family would have done many of their heavier chores and also cooked during the summer. Fresh hot soup from the washhouse will be offered to guests during the festival.
More information, including profiles of some of this year’s featured artists, can be found on the festival’s blog: www.heartandhandfestival.blogspot.com.