One might argue that Action Week, Sydney’s annual summer festival, is actually a festival of festivals.
There is the Cape Breton Bike Fest, “Thunder In The Highlands”, that headquarters in Sydney but includes events in Louisbourg and around the Cabot Trail. Bike Fest actually starts the day before Action Week on Friday, July 29. Their schedule of events, which include a vendors’ village and events that run the gamut of safety training to the “Wall of Death”, can be found on their website. There is a variety of street theatre with the International Buskers’ Festival happening along the harbourside boardwalk from Saturday, July 30 to Monday, August 1, which is always a big hit with festival goers. Later in the week, the Cape Breton Stage Company starts their street theatre festival from Thursday, August 4, to Saturday, August 6, with six shows at three downtown locations (Wentworth Park, Scotia Bank parking lot, and the parking lot behind Canada Post), all starting at 6 pm.
And Class Acts Drama offer an “Improv Show In The Park” on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, 1 pm to 2 pm in the splash fountain area of Wentworth Park. The Old Sydney Society offers Ghost Walks of Sydney Historic North End Monday to Thursday, August 1-4, (reservations required, call 539-0366) and Story Telling for the young folk at their Charlotte Street Cossit Museum at 2 pm, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
Epicures can even create their own mulit-cultural food festival by visiting the Caribbean Festival at St. Philip’s Churchyard, 34 Hankard Street in Whitney Pier, for their famous chicken and rice dinners on Monday, August 1, from noon to 4 pm. On Saturday, August 6, there are two more food events in the Pier: the Polish Food Fest at the Polish Village on Victoria Road (noon to 3 pm),and up the road a piece at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 128 they are offering a Newfie Supper of Fish and Brews or Cod Fish and Pork Scraps from 4 pm to 7 pm followed by a Newfie dance at 9 pm.
And Sydney Pride Week activities overlap with the final days of Action Week featuring family friendly events like the Pride Parade on Saturday, August 6, at noon, that makes its way through downtown Sydney and finishes at a public BBQ at the Louisa Gardens in Sydney’s North End; on Sunday, August 7, at 1 pm, it’s Pflag Family Day at the Southend Community Centre, Hillview Street, with games, face painting, BBQ, and other refreshments. Action Week proper starts on Saturday, July 30, with a full day of activities including the Children’s Festival sponsored by Sydney Credit Union at the Sydney Minor Baseball Field. At 7 pm, it’s the Action Week Free Kick Off Concert, “Boots On The Boardwalk”, featuring Canadian Country Music Award Artist Stephanie Beaumont, along with Aaron Lewis and the “Boots On The Boardwalk Band”.
“As far as new or different events go, there’s going to be a One Mile Run in the Park – at the Baille Ard Trails for youth ages 10-17. Registration is at 9 am at Sherwood Park Education Complex Soccer Field. Fee is only $5 and the Run starts at 10 am on Sunday. Call Robin at 574-1282,” notes Carolyn Markotich, program director with the Cape Breton Regional Municipality’s Recreation Department and the person in charge of co-ordinating the Action Week schedule. “And on Wednesday and Thursday of Action Week there’s going to be a Flower Show at St. George’s Church Hall, Nepean Street. It’s sponsored by the Cape Breton District Garden Club.”
“We’re pretty excited about something new we’re trying on the Boardwalk this year – on Wednesday, August 3 – Cape Breton’s Largest Square Dance – featuring Colin Grant, Chrissy Crowley, Dawn & Margie Beaton all on the stage at the same time,” says Markotich. “Jason Roach and Allie Bennet will also be on hand and Burton MacIntyre will be the caller. Toes will surely be tapping and hands clapping for this one, we hope!! We want everyone to come down – those who regularly go to the square dances in the area and those who might want to try it out. We’ll have someone on hand to teach the steps to anyone interested – people can even just come on down to watch and to listen.”
Other big Action Week musical events include the “Rising Stars” Boardwalk concert (Rain venue: the Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion) on Tuesday, August, 2, at 8 pm featuring great teen talent including Steven Allan, The Company, Hope Scheller, and Dakota Rideout.
There is also the three nights of Rock The Dock, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (August 4-6) featuring top acts like Nazareth, Matt Anderson, and Kim Mitchell.
And just before the closing night fireworks at dusk on Sunday, August 7, there is a free 8 pm concert on the Boardwalk featuring the legendary Carlton Showband.
Check actionweek.com for a complete schedule and updates.