The River Arts Festival is a 2 week, multi-discipline arts festival that happens in November in the very rural town of Dunnville, Ontario. 2019 marked the festival’s 14th year.  November in Southern Ontario, sees the sun set at 5pm and it’s getting cold and it’s usually rainy. Perfect timing for an art festival! We rely on artists and volunteers to breathe life and energy into our town as we prepare for winter. 

One of the volunteers that has consistently contributed his considerable talents to the festival has been Dick Passmore. Dick is always the first person we think of when we need an MC for a special event. When we need someone with wit and humour, enthusiasm and empathy, he is the person we go to. We know that he will be able to assess the needs of any event, and that he will prepare accordingly. He’ll dress in period clothes, adopt an accent and become a character from a Dickens novel. At other times, he’s the thoughtful moderator, subtly directing question and answer sections of a program, adept at managing if discussion gets heated or difficult. As a host of Open Mic events, he’s thoughtfully facilitated engagement by connecting participants through theme of artist or song. He’s prepared and shared poetry and readings, he’s told jokes and personal stories, he’s quite literally made us laugh and cry over the years. 

As organizers, we value a person like Dick so much. We know we can rely on him to not only step up, show up and help clean up, but that he will do it all with humour, style and dedication to making the event the best it can be.

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