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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Good fortune smiles along with jazz, indie and blues among Ontario festivals

   One-Tank Trip for Aug. 6/7 2011

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Confucius say very interesting festival happening at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto as a hot, hot, hot schedule of summer fests continues throughout the month.
   There’s also the Markham Jazz, Peak to Shore (Blue Mountains), Kitchener Blues and the Woodstock Summer Street festivals along with the Old Time Fiddle Championship in Shelburne.
Chef Michael Tan of Fairmont Royal York’s Benihana Japanese Steakhouse will perform a teppanyaki-style dining experience at the Fortune Cooking Food Festival.
   Good fortune smiles on fest
   A “tasty exploration” of Pan-Asian cuisine and its influence across the globe sums up the Fortune Cooking Food Festival from Aug. 12 to 14 at Harbourfront (235 Queen Quay W).
   It will be a feast for foodies with demonstrations from some of Toronto’s leading Pan-Asian chefs including a Korean barbecue taco event with food guru Sang Kim alongside Chef Jose Hadad of Frida Restaurant and Wine Bar.
   There will be a “fast-paced” teppanyaki-style dining experience with Chef Michael Tan of Fairmont Royal York’s Benihana Japanese Steakhouse, said Harbourfront publicist Althea Linton.

   “As well, Chef Sasi Meechai-Lim of Mengrai Thai restaurant will be back to defend her title at the second annual Longo’s Iron Chef Competition,” she added.
An Iron Chef Competition to determine whose Asian cuisine reigns supreme will take place at the Fortune Cooking Food Festival.
   Novice food aficionados can boost their knowledge of Asian cuisine at a tutored tasting demonstration.
   “From bitter melons to hairy melons, red amaranth to water convolvulus, Taiwan lettuce to mustard greens, (food editor) Andrew Chase explores exotic Asian fruits and vegetables and how they are prepared in various Asian dishes,” Linton said.
   While food is the focus, festival goers can also savour music and dance performances along with films and family activities along the waterfront. www.harbourfrontcentre.com; (416) 973-4000

   All that jazz in Markham
   The villages of Unionville and Markham, east of Toronto, will be alive with the sounds of internationally acclaimed jazz artists from Aug. 19 to 21.
Colombian singer Shakira is shown performing at last year’s Markham Jazz Festival.
   The 14th annual Markham Jazz Festival launches with a gala double bill featuring Bill Charlap and Gretchen Parlato, said chair Tammy Mang. It happens at 8 p.m. at the Markham Theatre for the Performing Arts.
   Along with main stage events, there are three “open-air stages” on Main Street in Unionville.
   “Given the stage’s global focus, you’ll hear everything from Brazilian music, to klezmer, to Turkish music, to Latin jazz,” said Michael Occhipinti, artistic director.
The “On Fire” opening night gala performance with singer Shakira launched the annual Markham Jazz Festival last year.
   The other stages will present many styles of jazz, including a personal tribute to John Lennon.
   Artist in residence and saxophonist Jeff Coffin “has thrilled fans worldwide as a member of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones and the Dave Matthews Band, and his exciting Mu’tet,” he added. www.markhamjazzfestival.com; (905) 944-0265

   Peak to Shore fest
   Sarah Harmer is the headliner for the Peak to Shore Music Festival, Aug. 12 to 14, at Blue Mountain Village along with events in Thornbury.
   The singer songwriter and environmental activist will be among “a dazzling array of Canada’s finest independent recording artists,” said publicist Patti Kendall.
   Artistic Director Drew McIvor said this year’s fest has a “hot line-up from pop and rock to funk and soul, blues and bluegrass to comedy and folk.”
   Also performing will be pop rocker Suzie McNeil, soul singer Shane Philips and King Sunshine, a “nine-piece powerhouse” of disco, funk, house and club beats.
   Six locations in Thornbury will take part in a late opening night Cider Music Crawl. www.peaktoshore.com

   Happening now

   - They’re fiddling around for the 61st year in Shelburne for the Canadian Open Old Time Fiddle Championship with a full day of events and the finals tonight at the Centre Dufferin Recreation Complex (Shelburne Arena).
   There will be fiddling and step dancing groups Ballagh Bunch, Everything Fitz, Jenish Sisters, Rittmai and Third Degree along with eight-time champ Louis Schryer, Doug McNaughton and Karen Reed. www.shelburnefiddlecontest.on.ca
   - The Kitchener Blues Festival, with more than 60 free concerts, continues through Sunday throughout the downtown.
   Among the performers today are the Edgar Winter Group, Candye Kane, Jimmie Vaughan and Bobby Parker while on Sunday, John Mayall and Bettye Lavette perform. www.kitchenerbluesfestival.com
   - Summer Street Fest continues through Sunday in downtown Woodstock with musicians, street performers, art, crafts, outdoor cafes, children activities, food and shopping.
   Along with sidewalk sales, there’s a midway with a ferris wheel, “the country’s largest slide,” games, rides, a BMX stunt show and an old-car cruise on Sunday, said Kelly Morrison, manager of the Downtown Woodstock Business Improvement Area. www.downtownwoodstock.ca


Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com

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