For Canada lovers and the Canadian curious! Immerse yourself in Canadian culture and hospitality right in the heart of the Midwest. Hailed as the premier event below the 42nd Parallel, Canadiana Fest brings music, food, art, beer, and culture of Canada to Kalamazoo's Arcadia Creek Festival Place on September 21, 2024. All are invited to celebrate this event that embodies the love for all things Canadian while supporting noble causes like local food banks and scholarships.`

Originating as a response to pandemic losses,the festival arose out of festival founder Channon Mondoux – Canadian expatriate, local chef, food writer – triumphing over the challenge of not being able to return home to Canada. “If the girl couldn’t get to Canada, Canada was going to come to the girl!”

Now in its second year, the festival has evolved into a jubilant homage to her native land complete with Canadian music, art, activities, food and beer, and of course … a Poutine and Butter Tart Competition.

Canadians abound on the festival team including expats joined by Michigan residents who have gotten on board because of the sheer joy of the festival. “After moving from LaSalle, Ontario, to live in the United States, it's so wonderful to feel a piece of home in Kalamazoo,” said Lauren Kummer, News Anchor and reporter for Fox 17 News in Grand Rapids, MI., and 2024 emcee for the festival. “Canadiana Fest is a wonderful celebration of our culture that reaches our American friends to teach them about our great country. Shoutout to all the Canucks residing abroad! I cannot wait to bring my ‘Eh-game’ to this year's festival!”

Kalamazoo, MI., a city of nearly 75,000 residents, is located just 2.5 hours from the Canadian border town of Windsor, Ontario. Home of craft brewery giant Bell’s Beer and the original, iconic Gibson Guitar Company, it will also soon be known as the terminal point of the Electric Vehicle Highway.

In 2023, Michigan and Canada announced the first bi-national electric vehicle corridor stretching from Quebec City to Kalamazoo.The first of its kind, this corridor will offer charging stations at least every 50 miles along the way. “As we all know, there is nothing more Pure Michigan than accidentally driving into Canada,” said Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who spoke about the announcement with Windsor, Ontario, in the backdrop. “This is the first cross-border electric vehicle corridor of its kind. It will allow seamless international travel between Michigan and Canada, accidental or otherwise, with abundant charging options throughout your journey.” Mondoux calls it a “happy coincidence” that Canadiana Fest is situated at one of the terminal ends of this corridor linking Quebec City, Toronto, Windsor, Detroit, and Kalamazoo. “We like to think of ourselves as an opportunity not just for the public, but industry and commerce to get to know each other in a joyful celebration. One of our major sponsors for instance is even bringing their H.R. department to the festival recognizing the value of having boots on the ground here.”

“In 2023, downtown Kalamazoo welcomed over 1 million visitors. The days that attracted the most visitors were during one-of-a-kind events like the Canadiana Fest. As this event enters its second year, the business community here stands in full support of the celebration of culture (and poutine!) that this Festival brings,” said Clarence Lloyd, director of the Kalamazoo region’s chamber of commerce, Southwest Michigan First.

Canadiana Fest wouldn’t be complete without the voices of Canada, and this year the fest features headliner Crystal Shawanda, a multiple Juno Award-winning artist from Wikwemikong First Nations on Manitoulin Island, Ontario. Originally a country chart topper, this renowned blues musician living in Nashville, TN., will showcase her latest album, Midnight Blues.

Shawanda’s vibrant blues collection highlights her distinctive raspy voice, which earned her the 2024 Maple Blues Award for Indigenous Artist of the Year. In the wake of the Buffy St. Marie controversy, Mondoux acknowledges the significance of her performance at the festival.

“I felt it was important to feature an Indigenous woman who is successful on her own terms,” said Mondoux. “Crystal embodies the spirit of never giving up, believing in who you are as a First Nations person and being a role model for others to follow. We are incredibly lucky to have her.”

Joining Crystal Shawanda is Julius "The Genius" Fisher, an African-American bandleader, musician, singer, songwriter, producer, and promoter who has worked with legends like B.B. King, Isaac Hayes,The Drifters, and many more.

Skye Consort & Emma Bjorling met in Montreal, and have gone on to develop a truly unique style of Trans-Atlantic chamber folk that showcases their Nordic-Celtic-Acadian-Québécois heritage, featuring haunting vocals of award-winning Emma Björling and the renowned shanty artist Seán Dagher, alongside multi-instrumentalists/vocalists Amanda Keesmaat, Simon Alexandre, and Alex Kehler. Playing fiddle, nyckelharpa, cello, bouzouki, banjo, and percussion, they offer groovy reels, whirling polkas, passionate love songs, and breathtaking hymns, sung in French, English, and Swedish. The band echoes the earliest influences on Canadian culture.

Juno Nominated Jazz Musician Andrew Rathbun and his Jazz Quartet – widely esteemed as one of the most creative and accomplished saxophonists, composers and bandleaders of his generation – is a Toronto-born and Kalamazoo-residing musician and professor at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. He’ll perform from his substantial repertoire and his latest album, “The Speed of Time.”

Kalamazoo’s Rock RX offers a high energy, immersive musical experience known for packing venues with audiences singing and dancing along to crowd favorites, and they’re excited to tailor a setlist full of Canadian Classic Rock hits.

Rounding out the musical experience are cultural sounds of The Southern Straight Singers, featuring local members of Ojibwe, Odawa and Potawatomi descent; and The Kalamazoo Pipe Band whose authentic Scottish Drum and Pipe will welcome guests at the festival’s opening ceremony.

The opening ceremony will be shared in both English and French and will feature a parade led by a “Red Green Brigade” of the marchers dressed as the renowned title character of the “Red Green Show.” The public is invited to take up the banner and join in to win a costume contest prize. The Possum Lodge will be at the festival, and festival fans are crossing their fingers in hopes the beloved namesake might make an appearance.

The festival also boasts custom crafted Canadiana-style beer in addition to imported favorites, including the annual release of Final Gravity’s “Double Double Stout” – a rich, cream and coffee infused brew fashioned after the famous Tim Horton’s classic coffee. Brewery Outre is serving up their NewFound Brown Ale along with other regional breweries unique takes on Canadian beers. In the VIP tent, master mixologists will fashion mocktails exclusively created for the festival and featuring Clearly Canadian bubbles.

For food, Canadian Chefs Channon Mondoux and Austin Shynal (certified sommelier), and the team at the VFW Red Arrow Post 1527 will create the “Canuck Canteen” offering authentic Canadian cuisine like poutine (a deceptive authentic vegan recipe) tourtiere, peameal bacon, nanaimo bars and butter tarts. A poutine contest showcasing locally owned restaurants and food trucks, and a butter tart competition open to all, also promise to tantalize the palate of festival guests.

Art is a large component to the festival, and there will be many booths featuring local artists who have a Canadian connection including Kris Kaleta, renowned local chainsaw artist, who will carve a piece live at the festival that will be auctioned off upon completion. Daniel Ellis’s work includes graphic portrait designs of famous Canadians and landscapes of iconic Canadian locations in addition to his original oil paintings; and jewelry artist Melody Faith, whose ancestry includes Canadian roots, will share her Canadian inspired multi-media jewelry including semiprecious stones harvested from the Great Lakes.

New to the festival this year is a Canadian Sports Center led by former Canadian Olympic Athlete and two-time WMU Hall of Famer Heather Sawyer. This hands-on, family friendly learning center will feature basketball (which was invented by a Canadian), hockey, lacrosse, and curling with skills workshops being offered led by WMU Athletes, local teams and clubs.

“I’m from Orono, Ontario, and I’ve lived in Michigan for 32 years,” Sawyer said. “I am excited to be a part of the Canadiana Fest. As a former member of Team Canada Volleyball and Coach in the Junior National team, I’m always excited to support Team Canada and promote our Canadian Spirit!”

“We are proud of the large international student population we have at WMU and within our athletic department,” said Dan Bartholomae, Athletic Director at WMU. “Any connection we can make in supporting our international communities is important to us, and connecting our many Canadian student-athletes with this important event is an exciting opportunity”.

William Griffey of the Iroquois Nation will also share the historical, cultural and spiritual lessons of the origins of lacrosse, Canada’s official summer sport.

Canadiana Fest will offer fun for all ages with face painting, arts and crafts, book readings in English, French and Cree, genealogy consults of French and Scottish Canadian origins, living history reenactors portraying early French Canadians,and more. Last year, these activities resulted in local families discovering and meeting distant relatives through their joint French Canadian heritage.

"We are honored to have Canadian National Railway as our title sponsor this year," states Mondoux. "This reflects the significant impact we're making in the community. With nearly $9,000 raised for local food banks and a $500 contribution to the Chef and Cooks Association's culinary scholarship in our inaugural year, the festival excelled in showcasing Canada's artistic, material, and historical culture, as well as its renowned culture of kindness."

“CN is thrilled to sponsor the 2024 Canadiana Fest in Kalamazoo, Michigan. This event celebrates the vibrant cultural ties between Canada and the United States, and we are proud to support such a meaningful occasion. Our sponsorship underscores CN’s commitment to fostering strong community relationships and promoting cultural exchange across borders,” said Jeffrey Price, Manager of U.S. Public and Government Affairs at CN Railroad.

Alongside CN Rail, Clearly Canadian and Air Canada are returning to support the festival, the latter offering a prize of round trip tickets from any terminal in the U.S. to any terminal in Canada that they fly.

The festival will also open its arms to all people, providing sign language interpreters for announcements and bands, mobility access for drop off and audience seating, and QR codes created to aid those with sight impairments. The festival also is reaching out to underserved communities in Kalamazoo to offer free tickets and hospitality.

“It’s important to us that we embrace all people in our festival,” said Mondoux. “It’s our mission to uplift others through sharing our love of Canada.”

Tickets go on sale June 1, and can be purchased at Follow the festival on social media at, and Email Channon@canadianafest.FUN if you’re interested in becoming a festival sponsor or volunteer.