ROTARYFEST - The Sault’s Summer Festival!

ROTARYFEST is the Sault's summer festival. First established in 1922, the festival will be observing its 91 anniversary July 18-20, 2013.

J.W. Curran, a charter member of The Rotary Club of Sault Ste. Marie and the first publisher of The Sault Star, experienced a street parade in the city of Orillia and was so impressed that he brought the idea to Sault Ste. Marie. The first Community Night took place on September 23, 1922. Not only was it to be a night of community fellowship and friendship, but it was to raise enough money from free will offerings to secure a "baby's car" for Public Health Nurse B. Miller.

In the early days, everyone attending came in costume, not just the parade marchers. The Sault Star files reported: "Strong delegations of handsome men and beautiful women came from other centres, from Thessalon, Bruce Mines, Desbarats, Blind River, from every nearby centre, out to match themselves against the Sault's best. Rotarians, every man of them, turned out in costume to head a parade section."

Entertainment was provided by strolling minstrels whose collections went into the overall fund raising. Rotarian Jim Shaw conducted impromptu community choirs on Queen Street whereever he could assemble a group.


Through the years, the festivity has grown. While the name may have changed from Community Night, to Community Day, to Community Days and to the present ROTARYFEST, two original activities have become traditions: the parade and a car raffle. The Rotary Community Day parade is one of the largest parades in Northern Ontario, filled with marching bands, floats and specialty units. This year's theme is "Sports Dreams Come True". This year's car draw has expanded the prize component to where the winner pick of two luxury vehicles or $75,000 cash.

ROTARYFEST, the Sault's Summer Festival, is a three-day celebration encompassing the tradition of Rotary Community Day with activities and attractions that will draw participation from outside our community as well as from within. For 91 years, the Rotary Club of Sault Ste. Marie has helped to create opportunities for family memories and civic pride. Rotarians are proud to be able to continue to make this city's summer festival possible for the community who has been so supportive of the Club's fund raising efforts for its charitable endeavors with youth throughout the year.

What is ROTARYFEST? This celebration is centered at Clergue Park with our beautiful St. Mary's River as a backdrop. Activities will include street entertainment, a "Civic Stage" featuring primarily local artists, our "Wheels On The Water" Car Show, our Community Day Parade, a midway and lots of children's entertainment.

ROTARYFEST is also about partnerships. Government and the business/corporate community assist the Rotary Club of Sault Ste. Marie so that more can be accomplished. Not only can programming be enhanced, but also partnerships allow us to be more creative in marketing to the regions surrounding Sault Ste. Marie as well as to our own citizens. Our partners have "caught the vision," making ROTARYFEST truly a community endeavor. And we have only just begun!

Food and fun, parades and pageantry, music and magic - ROTARYFEST promises all this and more. This community festival is held in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario every year in late July. Located at Clergue Park on the waterfront, this family-friendly event is sure to have something for everyone.


This is one weekend where the video games aren’t going to get a lot of play and the TV will collect dust. The kids will get moving with a wide assortment of activities. Encourage their creative side with face painting, hair wrapping and arts & crafts, show them thrills as they enjoy the midway rides and bounce on the inflatables, or maybe just sit back and enjoy the antics of street performers. Every moment will be packed with excitement as they move from one adventure to another.

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We also have an assortment of arts and entertainment for audiences with more sophisticated tastes. The Wheels on the Water Car Show will be showcasing a fleet of vintage cars while the Take Your Pick Draw will be giving one lucky person their choice of either two luxury vehicles or $75,000 in cash.

ROTARYFEST also showcases the premier artistic talents of our northern community. During the entire festival enjoy the continuous serenade of the local music scene from the Stage 1 sponsored by the OLG where you can hear cover songs of your favourite artists and the Tenaris Stage 2 which features original music. If you are looking for culture take a stroll along Queen St. and take in The Queens Walk art exhibit to view the innovative flavour of our region.

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Best of all is the al fresco dining! Every year there is a large selection ranging from deep fried fantasies to healthy afternoon snacks, served by our friendly venders. During ROTARYFEST 2013 the main culinary event is Ribfest, an old fashioned BBQ rib cook-off between 4 of the finest ribbers this province has ever seen. Delicious! And, of course, the 91st anniversary of the Rotary Community Day Parade, one of the Sault’s most cherished traditions, will be marching its eye-popping floats, puppets, bands, and “kinetic sculptures” down Queen Street to the smiles and cheers of adults and kids alike! These are the moments that make memories.


July 18-20, 2013
Savour the lip-smackin' BBQ at the Ribfest...
Revel in the antics of the street entertainment at Cirque du ROTARYFEST...
Frolic in the PlayZone where you get hands-on and creative...
Boogie to the continuous free entertainment on our two distinct musical venues: Stage 1 sponsored by OLG and the Tenaris Stage 2...
Squeal with delight as you fly through the air on the chilling carnival rides...
Travel down memory lane at the Wheels on the Water Car Show...
Replenish and refresh at the Rotary food court...
Delight in the family memories being created...
all and so much more at ROTARYFEST!
Come out and sample a taste of The Sault's Hottest Summer Festival!

Visit for more information on things to see and do in Sault Ste. Marie!
About Lance Thunder

Lance Thunder is a proud lifetime resident of Sault Ste. Marie. After Graduating with a Business Degree from Algoma University he went on to work as a marketer with the Rotary Club of Sault Ste. Marie.”

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