Amherstburgâs Open Air Weekends is ranked the No. 1 destination in 2023 in Festivals & Events Ontarioâs Top 100 list.
âItâs an incredible event in a magnificent town,â said Amherstburg town councillor Don McArthur. âAnd it keeps growing and it keeps getting better.â
Open Air Weekends was launched in late-spring 2020 at a time when many small businesses were facing what McArthur described at the time as âan existential crisisâ due to capacity limits and other restrictions on non-essential indoor gatherings aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.
To try to lend a hand and provide an economic boost, the town decided to close streets in the downtown core to motorized vehicles from Friday night to Sunday through the summer months. Entertainment was provided and businesses were encouraged to spread their offerings outdoors.
In its third edition last year, Open Air Weekends ran from the long weekend in May until the end of September and attracted an estimated 122,000 visitors. McArthur said the event offers âa small-town feelâ and provides a safe place for families, small children and teens to gather. Clowns, musicians, games and food are all part of the weekly draw.
At an awards gala in Niagara Falls March 8 to celebrate the industry, Festivals & Events Ontario (FEO) gave Amherstburgâs Open Air Weekends its top ranking in the âongoing â spring to fallâ category.