Capital region re-energized by the return of events this Labour Day weekend

OTTAWA — The capital region is jam packed with activities and events for the last long weekend of the summer, including the return of Gatineau’s annual hot air balloon festival.

“It’s our 34th edition. We didn’t have anything last year… we’re just in a blast right now,” said Michelle O’Neil, part of the Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival. “You can feel the people when they’re arriving, the smile they have, they’re with their friends, they just want to have fun.”

This summer is seeing the return of more large scale events in over a year…an energy that’s been missing in the region. When the pandemic put a halt to all events and festivals.

At the baseball stadium set up is underway for Escapade… the annual electronic music festival making its return to the stage after more than a year due to the pandemic.

“It feels good to do an event again. It’s stressful we haven’t done something this big in two years so both ourselves, our teams and our suppliers, it’s a little overwhelming but we’ll get through it,” said Ali Shafafee, Escapade Music Festival Director. “Hopefully come Monday we will have had another successful escapade.”

The sold out festival takes place Saturday and Sunday, welcoming 9,000 festival goers. In addition to physical distancing and mask measures, everyone who enters through the gates needs to show proof they are fully vaccinated.

With these safety protocols in place Ottawa Tourism says it’s a sign things are getting closer to normal.

“We haven’t seen large scale music festivals in a long time,” said Jantine Van Kregten with Ottawa Tourism. “Bluesfest and City Folk are coming later… there’s mechanisms to keep people safe. It’s a positive step to the road to recovery.

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