A colourfully abstracted graphic depicting smiling people attending an outdoor market fair.
ADRIAN QUIJANO GRAPHIC

KW FAMOUS HOSTS VINTAGE FEST, BRINGS “UNLIMITED NOSTALGIA” TO REGION

From May 12 to May 20, Vintage Fest 2024 was hosted by KWFamous at Market Road Antiques’ parking lot.  In the style of Coachella with a KW Region twist, Vintage Fest came back for the second year in a row.   

The theme for this year was “Unlimited Nostalgia” and boasted events like live fashion shows, sustainable shopping, upcycling workshops and craft stations. Vintage fest is Canada’s next largest festival for vintage clothing, items and accessories. There are 200+ vendors ready to welcome in long-weekend vintage shoppers. It brought thousands of people from both inside and outside the region to explore the St. Jacob’s Market area.   

“We’d like to do things differently and focus on those local aspects in the Kitchener Waterloo area. And promoting people, artists, locals in ways that maybe they haven’t done that hasn’t been done before,” Aaron Harot, director of KWFamous said.  

KW Famous is a non-profit founded in 2019. It highlights the best of Kitchener-Waterloo through new and innovative event collaborations and merchandise. All of their events are about celebrating the local arts and culture scene, and strives to prove that KW is both a place to live and stay.   

 Vintage Fest 2024’s partners included Collective Arts Creativity, Flair Airlines, Mod Robes, Makeworth Vintage Goods and Jen of Green Gables. KWFamous’ goal is to bring pride and sense of belonging to the community through merch and events such as Winter Patio Poetry, Roller Disco and Vintage Fest. Businesses can sponsor Vintage Fest and other events by visiting kwfamous.com.   

Vintage Fest highlights creative and small businesses that are based in the KW Region.  Their goal is to help create meaningful community and networking connections.  Market Road Antiques, whose parking lot was used as the venue, was also open to the public. It is a 20,000 square foot indoor destination antique mall with over 150 antique dealer booths under one roof.   

“An event like this isn’t just something that brings out vintage lovers but encourages younger generations to see the value in “old” things through work shops like the ones Jenn of Green Gables held upcycling things to create journals,” Abbie Darling, owner of Abbie Darling Customs, said.  

“And the way both Makeworth and KWFamous highlight incredible initiatives like Autocate, a local woman run startup of mechanics educating people to feel empowered about their knowledge around cars and maintenance is just so awesome,” she said.  

Vintage Fest brought to life the antique and vintage products surrounding the St. Jacob’s district. Through KWFamous’ many booths set ups, guests were inspired to interact with their surroundings. Folks made art with the free upcycling workshops with local designer, Jennifer Robles.   

“I love getting to meet other people that not only love vintage, but recognize the necessity of shopping second hand and repurposed from a eco conscious perspective,” Darling said.  

Festival goers reconsidered the way things are used and how to reuse objects around the house to make beautiful pieces of art. Vintage Fest marketed itself for everyone 

“A lot of artists and creators [locally], they use all things, and it turns to make [vintage items] them new. Then it’s amazing to see those processes kind of like flips and like with its fashion or things basically seeing the transformations and that kind of stuff would be really, really cool to watch,” Harot said.  

 The whole weekend featured curated music with Funk’n Saturday, Soulful Sunday and Mellow Monday. There were crafting workshops for kids, swing dance lessons and breakdancing showdowns.  Local fashion designers were given the spotlight at Vintage Fest. Patrons not only got access to cool, unique and sustainable fashion pieces.   

 “Vintage Fest is always one of the most fun events of the year! I love being around people that are not only likeminded in terms of the perfect fun filled event, but style and ethos as well!” Darling said.