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Maritimers look forward to midsummer weekend full of events

Maritimers look forward to midsummer weekend full of events

If you’re looking for something fun to do this long weekend there’s no shortage of options to choose from no matter where you are in the Maritimes.


For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the Maritimes, the Louisbourg, N.S, Crab Fest is back.

“We have live music happening all over the village,” said Marc Botte, one of the festival’s organizers. “All of it is free admission and Crab Fest really is the centrepiece of that.”

This year’s event is seen as a renaissance of sorts for a seasonal community that had so few visitors the last two summers.

“This kind of marks the reopening of Louisbourg,” Botte said. “We were actually able to tap into some federal funding from the Canada Reopening Fund, so (thanks) in part to the federal government we’re able to extend the celebration really into a three day festival.”

Crab Fest kicks off Friday night with a concert headlined by the Matt Minglewood Trio.

“It’s going to be a fantastic weekend,” Botte said.


Most communities don’t boast a two-time Boston Marathon champion, but Sydney Mines, N.S., will do just that when the horn sounds on the annual Johnny Miles Road Race Saturday morning.

“Johnny Miles is a legend,” race director Cyril MacDonald put simply.

The summer festival has a new name now – Heritage Days – but the feel should be similar.

“There are countless entertainers set up,” MacDonald said. “There’s kids’ activities. There’s a movie Saturday night. There are so many things to do and it just feels like we’re back to the way we used to be.”


In Dartmouth, the annual Natal Day Parade is scheduled for the holiday Monday.

The Busker Festival has also expanded to both sides of the Halifax Harbour for the first time.


On Prince Edward Island, people can carve out time to check out the STIHL Timbersports Championship in Charlottetown, or Atlanticade in Summerside.

There are several other long weekend events on P.E.I., including Island Fringe Festival and Ribfest.


On the other side of the Confederation Bridge, Monday is New Brunswick Day – with a lot of activities taking place in Fredericton.

“We have a lot of great entertainment lined up for the day,” said Mark Taylor, who is with New Brunswick’s Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture. “Bouncy castles, lots of food, food trucks, circus performers as well, this year. The Beaverbrook Art Gallery is going to be open to the public for free.”

A new festival is also debuting this weekend in northwestern New Brunswick. Festival Royal Edmundston will take over the city’s downtown with DJ’s on Friday night, and live bands on Saturday night. During the day Saturday there will be a downtown market with family activities.

“We’re going to have enough for you, your grandma, your dad, your aunt, but for the kids as well,” says Mylene Gagne, co-founder of Festival Royal Edmundston. “It’s for everyone.”

The Area 506 Festival is returning to Saint John, with the addition of the new permanent container village which opened in June. The three day music festival will also have include the arrival of a 3,100 person cruise ship nearby on Sunday morning.

“For the show itself, for the festival, we would expect probably in and around 12,000 people,” says Area 506 founder Ray Gracewood. “And then, through the container village we’ve always done anywhere from 20,000 to 30,000 people through. Now that we have the container village as the real anchor I think we’ll probably see even more than that, so we’re excited to see the traffic.”

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Maritimers looking forward to the return of big events once COVID-19 restrictions are gone

Maritimers looking forward to the return of big events once COVID-19 restrictions are gone

With Nova Scotia planning to lift all COVID-19 restrictions in less than a month, there is hope big events will make a comeback throughout the Maritimes.

One event that has been on hold for nearly three years, and has many anxiously awaiting its return, is the Cabot Trail Relay Race in Cape Breton.

“I mean, I’ve had this day circled in my calendar for quite a while,” said Dan Vassallo, who attended the race each year before the pandemic began.

Vassallo and his friends live in Massachusetts and Maine. Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they would load up their vehicles each May and make their way to Cape Breton – a weekend ritual they have missed out on over the past two years.

“It’s something we love,” said Rob Gomez, a relay participant and friend of Vassallo’s. “It’s something that has been a part of our lives for a big chunk of our adult lives.”

Katie Jerrett, of Halifax, says the return of the race would not only be a comeback from the pandemic, but also from a broken foot.

“It will mean the world to me and I think that ‘Cabot’ would be the most exciting comeback from this injury,” said Jerrett.

Terry Smith, the CEO of Destination Cape Breton, has his eyes on other spring and summer events that haven’t taken place since 2019.

“We’re hoping that events like Ribfest could come back,” he said.

He says the spinoffs would be a badly needed boost for accommodations and restaurants.         

“For the tourism operators that benefit when these events draw visitors to our area, they’re just going to see their cash registers ring again at a time of year when they really need it,” said Smith.

Organizers of the Cabot Trail Relay Race say a final decision on this year’s event has yet to be made, but if things stay on track, they’re optimistic they’ll be able to make a return.