A’burg’s ‘Open Air Weekends’ tops list of 2023 Ontario festivals

A'burg's 'Open Air Weekends' tops list of 2023 Ontario festivals

Amherstburg’s Open Air Weekends is ranked the No. 1 destination in 2023 in Festivals & Events Ontario’s Top 100 list.

“It’s an incredible event in a magnificent town,” said Amherstburg town councilor Don McArthur. “And it keeps growing and it keeps getting better.”

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 “an existential crisis” 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 “a small-town feel” 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.

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