Buskerfest Downtown Dundas

We’ve decided to branch out to include tour stops in the surrounding area, the Greater Hamilton Area (GHA), as we have been calling it. Today’s tour stop began with lunch in Ancaster before setting off to explore Dundas’ annual International Buskerfest. This time, we were accompanied by our good friend and Honourary Tour Member, Emily. It was a reunion of sorts for the five of us!

Noting all of the many attractions of downtown Dundas, Jenny and Avi were our resident Dundas guides as we made mental notes of which places we would like to check out on future tour stops. Unfortunately, Taylor’s Tea Room was closed that day, but did have a booth set up outside. Still full from lunch, we simply couldn’t resist those scones!

Scones in hand, we strolled down the street in search of our first performer, and came across Duke Dreamer. An Australian native, his act consisted of playfully picking on certain individuals in the audience, juggling, balancing on a very tipsy surface, and a bit with an airplane, all building up to his finale of balancing on a cloud. Reaching almost the tree tops, Duke mounted a pole which was only being supported by 4 carefully-selected audience members who looked like they had the physical prowess to handle it. A little inflatable cloud puffed up underneath him and he continued to juggle knives from that great height. Duke’s act was a fun way to start the festival.

Next up, we went in search of the famous lemonade stand that Avi and Jenny had raved about. And they were right! It was definitely a highlight; I can see why people look forward to this refreshing summertime treat every year. It also came Lime-aid and Orange-aid, and in sizes “Thirsty” or “Famished” (Avi and I got a kick out of that, while choosing the “Thirsty” size.) We then spotted a bouncy castle which, sadly, was only for kids. We contemplated that Avi, Jenny, and Em could probably pass any height restriction but didn’t press our luck. I then resolved to get one of those for my next birthday party.

On our walks up and down the street, we also caught performances by England’s Byron Bertram, Canada’s own Kate Mior, and New Zealand’s Mr. Quirk. Probably the funniest of the day was cabaret diva La Dolce Flamingo (still not entirely sure where she is from; her bio states “international”). We were the first ones to gather round, and she encouraged us to be the front row. Relying on audience participation, the men she chose to participate were hilarious. One was particularly reluctant at first. The other three got surprisingly into it as she had them dress up in leopard print togas to perform her “Slave Princess of the Cannibal Jungle” musical finale alongside her. La Dolce was a lot of fun to watch and we appreciated her theatrical flair!

It got unseasonably chilly, so we ducked into Detour Roasters Cafe to warm up. We weren’t the only ones with this idea – the place was bustling. It was dark out by the time we finished our drinks, so we decided to call it a night.

What is so much fun about Buskerfest is that the performers rely so much on the energy and participation from their audiences. This makes for a unpredictable show and a different experience every time for the performer. I was impressed by how much faith they put into the audience by counting on participants’ support for some risky stunts that could prove very dangerous, were something to go wrong. The performers stressed the importance of offering money at the end of their performances, and rightfully so, because this is how they make their living and they put so much into every show. All were incredibly skilled and seasoned performers. Buskerfest is a wonderful opportunity to experience talent from all over the world; it’s a great event.

Dundas – we’ll be back!

– Kristin

Kristin Archer is the creator of I Heart Hamilton (www.ihearthamilton.ca), where she has blogged about experiences around her hometown since 2011, growing a social media presence along the way. Encouraging locals to “be a tourist in your own city,” she promotes arts and culture across her various social media platforms, blog, and weekly radio show on 93.3 CFMU.

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