The Incredible Edibles Festival was born in 2013 when eight friends gathered around a farmhouse table to brainstorm ideas about promoting local food producers and tourism in Trent Hills. Convinced that the region’s abundant agricultural offerings combined with the unique talents of local chefs and entrepreneurs could put the municipality on the map as an agri-food destination, the group left their initial meeting armed with a vision, a mission and a plan.
The first festival was an unqualified success. “We wanted to create a festival where visitors could sample delicious and unique foods, while learning from experts about things like preserving, cheesemaking and more,” the website explains. The organizers were beyond delighted when over 3,000 people attended the initial event.
The Incredible Edibles Festival is heading into its sixth year in 2019 and has continued to grow, drawing thousands to enjoy an engaging summer day filled with food, fun and festivity in Campbellford. “We are so excited for this year’s festival,” says Sandy Chapman, secretary and treasurer. “We’ve expanded geographically for 2019 and we’ll now have three streets closed off. For the first time this year, we’ll have the use of the Westben Clock Tower building for our first indoor annual artisan vendor market, showcasing the works and wares of local creators. We’re very excited about this as the Clock Tower Building is located truly at the heart of the festival.”
Incredible Edibles has become a major local event spanning two days with numerous ancillary add-ons including the Incredible Doctor’s Cook-Off on the Friday night prior, a unique fundraiser for the Campbellford Memorial Hospital in which local physicians are paired with chefs to create mouth-watering fare.
Since 2015, Incredible Edibles has also offered a full-day farm life experience tour on the day prior to the festival. The guided bus tour escorts visitors to dairy, livestock and produce farm operations for hands-on experiences, provides a farm-fresh lunch and ends with a livestock auction at the sales barn in Hoard’s Station.
The 2018 festival culminated in a street dance hosted by The Rotary Club in celebration of its 90th anniversary in Campbellford, another unqualified success as attendees danced under the stars to the rock and roll sounds of local favourite Freddy Vette and the Flames. The Rotary Club will be hosting the popular event again this year and Sandy promises that Campbellford will be “jumping”.
This year’s festival will host over 60 vendors showcasing their unique products. Workshops and lectures are offered throughout the day in the agricultural tent and all-day cooking demonstrations on the main stage. Little ones can enjoy crafts and food prep activities in the children’s tent. Live music and entertainment will be enjoyed all day in the beer tent featuring local craft breweries and cideries.
“We are so proud and excited by everyone’s acceptance and support of the little idea started by five moms,” Sandy smiles. “From a little seed, something magnificent grew.” Mark your calendars for July 13th and remember, “if you eat, you’re in!”