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Collinsville Hot Organizers Excited about Expanded Summer Festival

July 15, 2016 Business, Community No Comments
Matica Arts will perform a fire show at this year's Collinsville Hot. Pictured in foreground is Matica's Heidi Kirchofer at last year's event. Photo by John Fitts

Matica Arts will perform a fire show at this year’s Collinsville Hot. Pictured in foreground is Matica’s Heidi Kirchofer at last year’s event.
Photo by John Fitts

This site’s Collinsville Hot coverage has been graciously sponsored by Carol and Co., D.A.N.C.E. by Kristin and Ward Kilduff Mortgage.

By John Fitts

When visitors dismount the shuttle bus at River and North streets for Collinsville Hot this Saturday, they’ll be immediately immersed in the second annual event.

“They’ll see the artists, they’ll see the stage, they’ll hear the music and they’ll know they’ve come a real street fair,” said event co-organizer Bob Bessel. “It’s a really great entrance to the whole festival.”

The second annual downtown festival, sponsored by Canton Main Street with the help of numerous other businesses and organizations, takes place from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday July 16.

Set throughout the downtown area, mainly on Main and River streets, the festivities will include two musical stages, two artisan fairs, a community canvas art project, business and community vendors and displays, food, a family chill zone and a fire show in the parking lot off Main Street. Evening activities across Bridge Street, also include a show with long-time Saturday Night Live band vocalist Christine Ohlman and Rebel Montez at Bridge Street Live and a moonlight paddle at Collinsville Canoe and Kayak.

Last year’s event drew an estimated approximately 4,000. Organizers expect more this year.

Shawn Cole, an event co-organizer, said he’s thrilled that so many people are talking about the event, merchants are supporting it and people are asking questions and sharing social media posts. He recently even heard some young kids talking about it.

I’m excited by the public response this year,” Cole said.

Bessel also said there is a lot of excitement surrounding the event. He’s also excited about the many new and refined parts of this year’s Hot. Some are logistical, Bessel said. For example, all Collinsville restaurants, with help from a few others in town, will offer “grab and go” options to better serve hungry participants, especially at dinner time. Bottled water sales – for $1 – to help people stay hydrated – and relieve strain on those restaurants. Portable restrooms will also be set up at either end of the festival.

This year’s fire show will take place in the “Town Hall” Parking Lot. Bessel said it should help boost the energy and participation for the Matica Arts show, set for 9 p.m.

This year, a host a musical acts and other entertainment will play at the two stages one near the Town Hall lot on Main Street and the other on River Street. Fuzz and Carrie from “Caravan of Thieves,” with special guests, will play before and after the fire show and numerous regional bands, covering all styles of music, are scheduled throughout the day, beginning at approximately noon.

Vendors and organizations will set up their wares and services on Main and River streets throughout the day, primarily between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. while the occasional street performance in their midst.

“This year we’ve asked the craft and business vendors to stay open for the evening crowd,” said Carol Ackerman, owner of Carol and Co. on Main Street.

And local artisans will indeed be well represented at this year’s festival, Bessel said.

“I’d say we took some major steps forward in terms of organizing this, getting people on board and including more people in Canton and Collinsville, particularly the artist community, which we’re really excited about.”

Lovers of local arts, crafts and handmade goods certainly have plenty of reason to visit Hot this year and can visit two specific arts areas.

On Main Street, Carol and Co., 107 Main St., will host an artisan fair, with some 13 vendors showcasing jewelry, ceramics, clothing and more. Vendors this year also include Collinsville jewelry maker Emilie Cohen and Canton furniture maker Peter Aleksa. Glassblower Linda Banks, Avon-based Naomi Jewelry and Julie Zink handbags, based in Farmington, are a few of the other vendors. The owner of Enfield-based Smiling Fish Designs will even set up a scavenger hunt.

“We have some exceptional new stuff coming,” Ackerman said.

Additionally, the River St. Artisan Market will include approximately 20 vendors with items such as clothing, soaps, pottery and  even baked goods for dogs, courtesy of Pupcake Bakery.

Bethany J. Kendrick-Simpson, co organizer of the River St. Artisan Market, is thrilled the be part of this year’s event.

“It’s to spread out a little more and draw people to River street, as well as Main street, and highlight some of the great artisans and artists that we have in the valley,” she said.

Visitors will really see some unique items, she added.

“There’s so many people hidden in the corners of Collinsville that create amazing items and we want to show people what we’ve got, what we can do,” she said.

Another new arts aspect of this year’s Collinsville Hot event is Community Canvases, which will also take place on River Street.

For that project, River City Art Center owner Kate McAllister has built three large canvas panels, as large as 63 x 30, on which she will sketch three Collinsville scenes – the well-known above dam view of the Farmington River, the trestle bridge that spans the river and now supports the Farmington River Trail and a view of River Street.

Area artists will contribute and festival attendees, with artist guidance, can help paint an area.

“If you have a love of painting and want to do this, come join us,” McAllister said.

After the event, the pieces will be displayed at various venues, including Rootz Salon and The Village Sweet Shoppe, and auctioned to benefit Focus on Canton, a non-profit that helps coordinate community needs.

McAllister said she felt the project was a fresh and fun way to create art, while benefitting the community over time.

“It’s bringing the community together to work on these single pieces, that will benefit the community thereafter,” she said.

The hot event, begins with community yoga at 9 a.m. and runs through 1030 p.m. With limited parking downtown, a free shuttle bus will take visitors to and from their cars at Canton High School, 76 Simonds Ave.

For a map, complete schedule of the event and updates visit

http://collinsvillehot.com or the facebook event at https://www.facebook.com/events/1915425052017130/

Numerous other facebook events have been created for various aspects of the festival, many of which are hyperlinked in the above story. Find them by clicking on the bolded events.

Additionally, information on this year’s sponsors can be seen on our Collinsville Hot page.


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