The NB RebELLEs hosted a Women’s Festival on August 22, 2009 in Officer’s Square (a place known as Peoples’ Park in 1968) in Fredericton.
According to the NB RebELLEs, the free-admission event was a “celebration of women and all of the things that we [women] do”. Both women and men took part in workshops, and listened to live music, and perused the tables of approximately 40 vendors including artists, jewelers, food vendors, henna tattoo artists, a music instructor, and community and social justice groups among others.
Linden Hardie, one volunteer who attended the event for the Fredericton Sexual Assault Crisis Centre (FSACC) believed the event successfully helped raise awareness in the community about other groups and organizations and their objectives. For her part, Hardie said that she volunteers for FSACC because of the important services it provides, and the rewarding experience of working with the dedicated group of women who keep FSACC running.
Michelle LeBlanc, an organizer with the NB RebELLEs said, “We tried to create a space where whatever work it is that a woman wanted to show, they could feel welcome. I’m personally very pleased that we seemed to achieve this goal.I hope that by virtue of the fact that an openly feminist organization organized this festival that we’ve furthered the understanding of feminism as an inclusive movement.”
Zhi Yong Zong had a table displaying her handcrafted jewelry at the festival. Zong got started making jewelry initially exchanging it with others, and later selling it at the King’s Place Flea Market. Zong said that she enjoyed the opportunity to meet other people in the community. She also noted the diversity of women at the festival, referring to it as, “an international women’s festival”. Zong suggested that she would like to see the festival happen again the following year.
“I’m personally very excited that the festival was so well received”, said Leblanc. “The festival was organized completely by volunteer labour, so there were a lot of evenings and weekends dedicated to this initiative, it’s great to hear that it was appreciated.”
Alex Corey is a member of the NB Media Co-op.