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The 2018 Empty Bowls Festival a success despite the chilly weather

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On Sunday, September 9, the 3rd Annual Empty Bowls Festival, presented by John Wilson’s Hedco Group, in support of the Wood Buffalo Food Bank was held at Jubilee plaza and was a great success, raising just over $16,900 net.

The family-friendly event had festival goers purchase locally hand-crafted bowls from the Fort McMurray Potter’s Guild or Color Me Mine Fort McMurray and make their way around the festival, sampling creations from eight food stations hosted by local eateries. In partnership with Arts Council Wood Buffalo, local artisans were present to showcase and sell their arts and fine crafts, with a portion of sales being donated back to the Wood Buffalo Food Bank. As well, there were displays and demonstrations of live arts and fine crafts, and to raise additional funds, 15 celebrity bowls were created for a silent auction, along with many other items submitted by the local artisans.

Despite the chilly weather, hundreds of people came to enjoy the festival. There were line-ups of festival-goers at each entrance eagerly awaiting 11am to purchase their bowl and enjoy the festivities. The event was expanded this year, bringing on Color Me Mine Fort McMurray to create additional bowls along with the Fort McMurray Potters Guild, totalling 1000 bowls.

“We are so pleased that we have been able to host this event in the community for three successful years” says Dan Edwards, Executive Director of the Wood Buffalo Food Bank. “Our goal with this event is to raise awareness and funds for our organization while maintaining a family-friendly affordable atmosphere where local art and the Food Bank can come together to fight hunger. Even though the weather was not what we had hoped for, we are so pleased to have seen so many people bundle up and come out to support us regardless, especially our volunteers who worked through the rain and wind to help make this event another success. We look forward to the next year and continuing to grow this great event.”

The WBFB would like to extend a great deal of thanks to those who made this event possible. A huge thank you to John Wilson and his team at the Hedco Group for becoming the presenting sponsor for this event. Thank you to the incredible arts partners on this event; the Fort McMurray Potters Guild and Color Me Mine for the creation of all the bowls and Arts Council Wood Buffalo who were instrumental in organizing all of the incredible local talent. Thank you to Suncor for sponsoring a portion of the bowl costs. Thank you to Nexen, Northstar Ford and Lincoln, and NAPA Autoparts for their Live Art Sponsorships, providing several art demonstrations for the community to enjoy and maybe pique the interest of passer byes! Thank you to Wood Buffalo Productions for managing all of the production and making sure our live musicians and speeches ran smoothly. A big thank you to Aluma Systems for donating the use of their stage, and graciously taking care of the set-up and take-down for us. Thank you to media partners Mix 103.7 and 100.5 Cruz FM for helping to get the message out about the event. Thank you to all our celebrity bowl painters who shared their creativity and made such beautiful bowls for the auction. Huge thank you to Devco, who prepared all the great signage. And finally, thank you to AMA for their Volunteer Sponsorship and all the volunteers who worked alongside our staff to make sure the event ran smoothly and successfully. Events like this could not be possible without the help of volunteers.

After several requests from the community, the Wood Buffalo Food Bank will be hosting an Empty Bowls Sale on Friday, September 14 from 10am to 4pm at the Food Bank warehouse (10117 King St.). All leftover bowls from the event will be showcased for sale for $10 each while supplies last.

About the Wood Buffalo Food Bank Association

Established in 1983, the Wood Buffalo Food Bank Association provides programs and services that provide the resources and education necessary to ensure food security for all citizens in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. For more information, visit