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Popular Orillia Waterfront Festival making waves all weekend

Boats, vendors, diving dogs, cardboard boat races ... 'There's something for everyone,' says organizer of weekend event
pirate ship cardboard
The cardboard boat race is one of the most popular events of the summer. It goes Sunday at noon at the Port of Orillia.

The popular annual Orillia Waterfront Festival kicks off today at noon and runs all weekend at the Port of Orillia.

It’s the 33rd year for the event, which began as a boat show and evolved into a festival focused on cottaging, boating and outdoor recreation.

“There’s something for everyone,” said event organizer Doug Bunker of the Orillia District Chamber of Commerce.

Boats remain a primary focus and there are vessels of varying shapes and sizes moored at the docks and available to be toured.

It’s an ideal place for curious boat shoppers to get on board boats and check out what’s new, said Bunker.

There is also lots happening on land. Bunker said there are more than 100 vendors and exhibitors that will offer everything from boating accessories, water sport equipment, cottage and outdoor products, summer fashions and much more.

There will also be lots of food on the menu.

Two popular crowd-pleasers are also returning, said Bunker.

The Dock Dogs Diving Contest is back and that means people are encouraged to bring their dog to the event, register their canine and allow their pet to jump off a dock under the watchful eye of judges in the pursuit of applause and prizes.

“We put in a dock that is low in the water, it has a ramp and it’s by the federal dock,” said Bunker. “People can stand along the dock and watch and cheer … it’s giggles and smiles all around.”

Dogs will jump Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

One of the focal points of the three-day festival is the cardboard boat race, which always draws a huge crowd to the port; the event goes Sunday at noon.

“People love this event. They love to see the crazy cardboard creations people have made and, of course, they love to see the boats sink,” said Bunker, with a laugh. “Each year, we hand out the coveted Titanic award to honour the most spectacular sinking.”

The Orillia Waterfront Festival runs from noon until 8 p.m. today, 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Sunday.

“It’s free admission and there’s something for everyone,” said Bunker. “Come on down!”

For more information and to register for the dog diving or carboard boat race, click here.