Dockside Festival of the Arts, A Gravenhurst Tradition for Nearly 25 Years

Showcasing over 100 juried artisans, gourmet food and local musicians.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Dockside Festival of the Arts. The Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce initiated the festival back in 1991 – attracting residents, cottagers, and visitors to browse the artists’ booths, listen to music, and indulge their tastebuds.  

Taking place annually on the third weekend in August, the Festival’s reputation for good fun and great art has grown steadily; with its showcase of over a hundred juried artisans and craftspeople from across the province and country. Guests can discover the creative talents of the special people who handcraft innovative products and works of art, then take a break to enjoy the entertainment and fabulous gourmet food.

This year the festival will also be hosting the Re/Max hot air balloon, allowing attendees to gain a bird’s-eye view of, not only the special event, but the beautiful shores of Lake Muskoka as well. More details on the hot air balloon rides and the weather policies will be available in the coming weeks.  

The vendors are selected with an eye to their fit with the spirit of Muskoka cottage lifestyles, opening up a leeway for visitors to find something special and unique. There are driftwood creations, handcrafted purses & bags, rough-edge wood products and furniture, fine jewellery, cottage-styled clothing, pet attire, paintings, and distinct works of art for the home and garden.

“By late August, we’re starting to feel bittersweet about the summer; Dockside Festival is a wonderful way to celebrate a Truly-Muskoka festival before the Labour Day weekend,” comments Tara Doyle, Manager of Programs at The Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce.  “Our goal is to expand the festival to provide, not only a marquee selection of artisans, but also a relaxed venue to enjoy wonderful food and talented musical performances. With the support of our sponsors and vendors, this year we will waive the admission fee and simply asks guess for a donation to support the Chamber.”

This year’s lineup of entertainment includes: marvelous musicians, unplugged and live in the Sawdust City Brewing Company’s Food and Music Lounge. Sample the in-house craft beer selections while tapping your toes to some terrific tunes. Performers include: Sean Cotton and his Wooden Spaceship, Bet Smith (with songs inspired by the people of rural Canada), Gina Horswood who brings the warmth of her Australian home to her art, and Toronto native, Nico Anderson, with a diverse repertoire – ranging from rock n’ roll to contemporary-pop hits.

In the past four years, the festival has expanded significantly; the incorporation of a food & music lounge, programming three-full days of local-musician performances and the introduction of artisan demonstrations. The festival’s growth can be attributed to the introduction and increase in event sponsors. Earlier this year the Gravenhurst Chamber announced that a title sponsor was secured.

“The Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce is very excited to have Veridian as a title sponsor for the Dockside Festival this year, and we’re over the moon that their commitment is for three years,” commented President, Bob Collins. “The coincidence of Veridian celebrating 10 years in Gravenhurst, and the Dockside Festival 25 years, is special for us both. Our partnership in helping the Gravenhurst community become stronger is appreciated.”

Visitors are sure to find something special and unique. Don’t miss this superb mingling of art, music, and culinary delights. Rain or shine, you will be sure to discover special finds at the Festival. The event is held at Gravenhurst’s Muskoka Wharf Special Events Field – overlooking Lake Muskoka. The Festival runs from August 19 to 21 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, with admission by donation.