It has been more than two years since butter tart lovers have converged on the Town of Midland to savour thousands of butter tarts and the town is looking forward to welcoming everyone back on June 11.
The first festival was held in June 2013, and 2022 would have been the festival’s 10th anniversary had the COVID-19 pandemic not caused it to be cancelled in 2020 and 2021. Regardless of those cancellations, the Town marked the event with the sale of fundraising T-Shirts in support of the Georgian Bay General Hospital Foundation in 2020 and the creation of the Butter Tart Trail in 2021 in partnership with Cycle Simcoe.
The award-winning festival is the original and largest butter tart festival in Canada and pre-pandemic was drawing 60,000 visitors for the one-day event.
This year’s festival takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and includes all of downtown Midland from Yonge St. to Bayshore Dr., and both David Onley and Harbourside Parks. Admission is free to all.
A highlight of the festival is the contest where both professional and amateur/home bakers vie for the title of Best Butter Tart in Ontario.
“The categories this year include traditional butter tarts which are plain, raisin, pecan or walnut butter tarts,” said Karen Mealing, Manager of Culture and Community with the Town of Midland. “And the second category this year is Wild Style, which is a butter tart with a non-traditional ingredient or two.”
While the judging takes place, festival visitors can sample the contest butter tarts. Judges cut off a small piece to taste and the rest of the butter tart is cut into smaller pieces to be circulated among the audience by festival volunteers.
There is no charge to watch the judging and those wishing to take home full, intact contest tarts can visit Scotiabank on the day of the festival and purchase a mixed package of 6 for $10.
Festival attendees can also visit the many downtown merchants who expand their businesses onto sidewalks in front of their stores and the more than 200 vendors selling everything from butter tarts to clothing, jewellery, home décor, personal care products, and hand-crafted items. There will also be food trucks for those who aren’t just making butter tarts their sole food source for the day.
There will be a variety of live music in Harbourside Park all day, including Francophone and Indigenous musicians.
While there are no COVID-19 public health mandates in place at the moment, festival organizers encourage visitors to wear a mask as the festival attracts a lot of people and they want everyone to have a safe and healthy experience.
Those interested in burning off a few calories can participate in the Butter Tart Trot, which is the yummiest race in Ontario and includes butter tarts en route. To register visit www.buttertartrot.ca. All proceeds from the Trot support youth programs.
Visitors looking for more information, including free shuttles and accessible parking, should visit www.buttertartfestival.ca and follow the festival on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Festival quick facts
Date: Saturday, June 11, 2022
Time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Location: Downtown Midland, plus David Onley Park and Harbourside Park
Vendor Marketplace: Downtown businesses and festival vendors will be selling everything from butter tarts to clothing to jewellery to handmade items. Food trucks will also be onsite selling other yummy delicacies.
Contest: Categories include Traditional and Wild Style, open to both professional bakers and amateur/home bakers. Traditional category will be judged from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Wild Style will be judges from 1 to 3 p.m. Best in show is judged at 3:15 p.m. and all winners are announced at 3:30 p.m. Judging takes place in Rotary Hall at the Midland Cultural Centre, 333 King Street.