A DAY OF COMMUNITY ON NEIGHBOURHOOD PORCHES THROUGHOUT MISSISSIPPI MILLS
Porches. Everyone knows what they are but people have forgotten how they can also build communities as a place for conversation, laughter, renewing and making new friendships.
The first PorchFest occured in Ithaca, NY, in 2007, inspired by some outdoor ukulele playing and a conversation between neighbours Gretchen Hildreth and Lesley Greene.
They came up with the community-building PorchFest concept and gathered musical acts to make it happen in September of that year. Still going strong in Ithaca, their great idea has spread to more than 60 towns and cities across North America. Now it’s Almonte’s second year on Saturday June 8th.
PorchFest de Mississippi Mills started in 2018 and came out of a conversation between two music lovers – Community Development Coordinator Jeff Mills, from Pakenham, and Almonte singer-songwriter Nathan Sloniowski (aka Rudyk), a member of Almonte's neo-psychedelic folk-rock band The Ragged Flowers.
On a cycling trip with friends including Kirk DesRosier in Montreal, Nathan happened on a PorchFest in the Notre-Dame-de-Grace neighbourhood and talked to Jeff about how great it was – everything from jazz, roots and classical groups, basement rock bands, to a talented teenage singer accompanied by her grandfather on guitar.
Jeff suggested timing PorchFest de Mississippi Mills in June in order be a part of Mississippi Mills Bicycle Month. After all, what better way could there be to get from porch to porch than a leisurely bike ride.
Nathan has moved on to greener pastures but PorchFest continues on in 2019 under the guidance of Kirk DesRosier and Kris Riendeau who can only hope to continue the success that began last year.