kitestring creative branding studio 65 Walnut Street South
Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts 126 James Street South

Stepping into the Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts for kitestring’s third annual Christmas Spectacular, I was expecting something bright. I was anticipating an event that matched the colourful brand that Kristin experienced in September. I was predicting candy. And, well, that’s exactly what we got. Here, again, was a fundraising event with a mass of diverse Hamiltonians enjoying a fun night out for a great cause. This time around, it was for Culture for Kids in the Arts and it was nothing short of amazing. Nay, it was spectacular.

Walking in the front doors, the lobby was packed. Kristin and I grabbed our tickets and moved over to one side to grab some tasty chocolate chip cookies from Cake & Loaf. Honestly, I have never had a better cookie. Then we went over to the other side and got in line for a delicious dark roast from Red Hill Coffee Trade. The place got so packed that I completely forgot that one of the major initial persuasions for us girls to come that night, apart from a pageant for a great cause, was a promised candy buffet. Once we spotted Avi through the crowd, we made our way to the Candiwerx-supplied spread: peanut brittle, Double Bubble, gummy bears, pixie sticks, candy necklaces. Admittedly, we kind of lined our pockets.

Then we headed up a few flights of stairs to check out the pageant. Chris Farias and Meg Coppolino from kitestring hosted the show. It was pretty classic. They opened the show up with a spectacular song that I was humming for a good week afterwards, and, man, just an incredibly entertaining variety show followed. Dancers and singers, young and old – a great display of Hamiltonian talent graced the stage. I think a hilarious highlight for us was a Starbucks boy rhapsody performed by Alyssa Curto. Oh, unrequited love!

Once the great entertainment wrapped up, Chris and Meg handed out some prizes to the packed audience. I was lucky enough to be sitting in the seat that I was, as I won a beautiful vintage tea tin full of buttons and magnets from The Button Pushers, along with a gift certificate. We’ll be visiting the new location on Locke soon enough – it just so happens that it is a wicked-cool looking vintage/propaganda/button-making shop that has been our to-do list since our Ottawa Street day trip (it was one of the many stores that had a gone fishin’/swimmin’ sign on their door due to the July day’s heatwave). Since our t-shirts are pretty seasonal, we’re thinking IHHT buttons are a must. Then, the Hammer City Roller Girls (another one that’s been high on the to-do list, we just have to wait for their season to start up again in May!) handed out the delicious Gorilla Cheese sandwiches that I have been dreaming of for months (just, gosh, bread and butter and cheese, so tasty). Overall, just, well, so incredibly spectacular.

Fezziwig Afterparty

After that, we were invited to walk up a few more flights of stairs to my favourite part of the night. We followed everyone up to the attic of the Conservatory for the Fezziwig Afterparty. Coolest space ever. There were exposed beams, high ceilings, and Christmas lights hung everywhere. And, honestly, kitestring never gave us a chance to be hungry – there were spiked snowcones from Sweet Ice Snow Cones, delicious mini cupcakes from Cupcake Diner, some genius cinnamon buns, and a plate of some great sandwiches from Lunch Bags. As we finished gorging on all the food, the Greasemarks took the stage. The sound of the band, the look of the boys, and the fact that all three band members are actually named Mark ended the night on an incredible high note. Kristin and I even got an invite up on stage to help out with some alternative percussion – our specialty! Suffice it to say – I’m anticipating a Rockabilly-themed birthday in February. Greasemarks, you boys available?


Ultimately, the night was an absolute pleasure to be a part of, and Avi and I got a chance to meet these kitestring folk that Kristin’s been gushing about for months. And, the reason why the Spectacular was put on in the first place? Every $16 spent on each ticket, alongside other generous donations, went directly to Culture for Kids in the Arts. CFKA is a local non-profit working towards giving Hamilton kids a chance to experience arts and culture. The night raised enough funds for about 355 children to attend one month of after school arts programming. Well done, kitestring! We’ll be there next year, perhaps with bells on, and it’ll only get bigger and better!

xoxo Carly.

P.S. Be awesome and click here to donate to CKA.

Kristin Archer is the creator of I Heart Hamilton (, 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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