After just one day, organizers are deeming the Mariposa Folk Festival a record-breaking success.
“Day 1 went amazingly,” said festival president Pam Carter.
She expected to see up to 30,000 people come through the gates at Tudhope Park over the weekend.
Much of the opening-day success can be attributed to Walk Off the Earth. The Burlington band of multi-instrumentalists headlined the main stage Friday night to the delight of a massive crowd, which included plenty of screaming kids.
Organizers wanted to draw a young crowd this year, and the youth were out in force for Walk Off the Earth’s high-energy set. The band is known best for its covers of popular songs, including Gotye’s Somebody that I Used to Know, and Adele’s Hello, in addition to their original tunes, such as Rule the World.
Mariposa is known for its surprises, and fans weren’t disappointed Friday afternoon.
Irish Mythen, one of the festival’s most requested performers, played a short set between acts on the main stage.
“It’s good to be home,” she told the crowd.
As an Irish-born woman who now lives on Prince Edward Island, her comment was a nod to the festival and the fans.
“Ever since I’ve been coming to Mariposa, it’s felt like I’ve been surrounded by family,” she later told OrilliaMatters. “It’s like my home festival, even though it couldn’t be farther from home.”
Her performance was another example of what makes the festival — now in its 58th year — such a draw.
None of it would be possible without an army of volunteers and a supportive community, Carter said.
“Every single volunteer stepped up to the plate. We couldn’t do it without them,” she said. “The community, the business community and the city have also been really supportive.”
That includes downtown Orillia, where free performances began Friday and will continue Saturday, from about 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Mississaga Street near Peter Street.
Find out more at mariposafolk.com.