The fifth annual Purple Onion Festival was held on Sunday September 20th. The sun shone on vendors and festival
goers alike, fostering a great atmosphere for eating local produce, listening to talented musicians and learning about climate change and social justice initiatives in our community.
The Purple Onion has traditionally been staged in Millennium Park and this year was no exception. The festival grounds were divided into several categories, including a wellness village, electric vehicle meet and local farmer’s and producer’s stalls. Each of these sections was artfully set up along the pathways leading up to the Taste of the Kawarthas tent where 10 local chefs could be found serving samples of their delicious locally sourced cuisine.
The annual festival is organized by Transition Town Peterborough which in their own words, “is an all volunteer, non-profit organization focused on reducing our community-wide dependence on fossil fuels while increasing local resilience and self-sufficiency in food, water, energy, culture and wellness with economic localization.”
The consensus from the festival goers that I spoke with was that this year’s Purple Onion Festival was the most diverse and interesting yet. The broad scope of the festival still managed to exist within, and compliment, the Transition Town ideology.
The new feature this year was of course the EV Meet sponsored by Peterborough Mitsubishi. Here spectators could sit in, examine and ask questions of owners and vendors about electric vehicles.
This was certainly the quietest car rally I have every attended, but it did provide thought provoking insight into the necessity of alternative types of transportation.
The EV Meet may have lacked rumbling engines, but the main stage was on fire with a string of talented local artists and bands. Many chose to eat their scrumptious local food while taking in the entertainment.
The official currency of the Purple Onion Festival is the Kawartha Loon. If you have no idea what that is, don’t worry you are not alone. The Kawartha Loon is a currency which is unique to Peterborough. They can be purchased at the Peterborough Community Credit Union on Brock St and best of all the Loon gives you 10% more buying power.
The local businesses which accept them can trade them on par with the CAD. Festival attendee Heather Hedges explained it best by saying, “The most exciting part of the festival is the awareness it brings about the Kawartha Loon. It is something that I am pretty sure is unique to Peterborough and is great for the local economy. A local currency ensures spending stays within the community and small business who accept it are supported.”
I believe the Purple Onion Festival in its fifth year has become a summer staple in our community. Trent was well represented by the Seasoned Spoon and Chartwells, who took part in Taste of the Kawarthas portion of the event. Perhaps this means we will be seeing more local food making its way into your college meal halls?
However, that my friends is another article entirely! As for the festival, the overall vibe was one of relaxed enjoyment. The community atmosphere, well thought out planning, superb vendors and excellent weather all combined to create a uniquely Peterborough experience.
*For an up to date list of where you can spend your Kawartha Loon currency around town check out the Transition Town website