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A festival of song, suds and exploding colour

Published on

Cathy Dobson

You might call The Festival of Good Things, a Festival of Good Ideas.

The mostly-free, end-of-summer event adds a new attraction each year and hasn’t struck out yet.

This year, Sarnia’s third annual Festival of Good Things will introduce the community to The Run of Exploding Colour, a five-kilometre fun run that already has 150 registrants.

“It’s just a ridiculous, creative, messy event that we thought people would enjoy,” said festival organizer Chris Lewis.

The run takes place on the waterfront, starting and ending at the Point Lands, the focal point of the day’s events.

As participants run with their friends they are plastered with eco-friendly coloured powder by volunteers staked out at each kilometre marker.

Cost to participate is $40 and the proceeds go to offset festival expenses. Those who wish can run for a charity and download pledge forms, said Lewis. About 25% of registrants are connected with a non-profit group.

The Run of Exploding Colour is scheduled rain or shine for Saturday, Sept. 5 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

It kicks off a day of events for all ages including live music, a Kids Zone with inflatables, a Handmade Market with about a dozen craftspeople, and the Goodwill Good People Tent, where non-profits can distribute information and hold educational presentations. As in other years, there will be a beer tent, but the number of craft breweries has been narrowed down to two.

The Refined Fool, Sarnia’s local brewery, and the Mill Street Brewery from Toronto, will serve up suds while an eclectic gathering of musicians takes the stage.

Friday and Saturday night are ticketed events, but the rest is free, including live entertainment by Sarnia’s own Lit’l Chicago and other local bands.

On Friday night, local band Miss Atomic Bomb starts things off with top 40 cover tunes, followed by the Fast Romantics, an indie rock group out of Toronto. Then headliner Young Empires, another Toronto-based indie rock band, takes over.

Saturday’s lineup includes The Silence of Ivory, Sunparlour Players and Shred Kelly.  All are from out-of-town but none have the big names of last year’s Gord Downie. Ticket sales were slow for Downie and set the festival back, said Lewis.

“When we started this, we said we’d try it for three years and see if it is sustainable,” he said. “We’re now into our third year, have a realistic budget with a lot of strong, local sponsorship, and we’re on our way to meeting those goals.”

Festival of Good Things is produced by the same group of 30-somethings behind The Beer Show and Sarnia’s first Oktoberfest this fall.

“For those who stay in Sarnia on Labour Day weekend, this gives them a lot to do,” said Lewis. “We’ve got stuff happening everywhere on the Point Lands.”


WHAT: Third annual Festival of Good Things and the first Run of Exploding Colour

WHERE: The Point Lands next to Sarnia Bay Marina

WHEN: Sept. 4 & 5

TICKETS:  Free all day Saturday. Evening concerts $10. Available at the door or www.festivalofgoodthings.com.


The Arts Journal features events and individuals important to Sarnia’s cultural scene. If you want to suggest a story idea, contact Cathy Dobson at 226-932-0985 or [email protected]

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