After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, Bay Block Party returned this weekend.
This is the fourth year the event has been held in downtown North Bay and organizers hope more than 5,000 people will attend.
The Bay Block Party was called Rocktoberfest many years ago when it was a fall festival.
“When Summer In the Park folded, we saw an opportunity to move that into summer… This is about the North Bay Real Estate Board giving back to the community,” said Ryan Humble, president of the Bay Block Party.
The all-ages event is free, but non-perishable food donations to the North Bay Food Bank are encouraged.
After more than two years of the pandemic, organizers told CTV News over the weekend that it’s about energizing downtown and bringing people together.
“Our core is really the heart of the community,” Humble said.
“There are a lot of local businesses downtown, it’s important to support our local businesses. We’ve been doing this for a few years, it was well received by the community last year, we’ve been doing this, about 4 000 people participated.
He said they are close to the waterfront, so “mixing the two is essential for the growth of the city”.
“By inviting people and having people here, it’s going to be a great day,” he said.
The event kicked off at 1 p.m. Saturday on Main Street. Organizers said there would be activities for all ages, a beer garden, food vendors and live entertainment.
“It feels really good to see the streets come alive and we appreciate the real estate board so much,” local business owner Katie Bevan told CTV News.
14 bands and performers, mostly local talent, line the main stage throughout the afternoon and into the evening on Saturday.
“We’re all very excited to rock the roof of the stage,” Megagurlfriend bassist Jude Zappala told CTV News.
For more information on the event, visit their Facebook page.
Story updated with first-hand reporting by CTV Northern Ontario’s Eric Taschner.