What to see, hear and taste at Riverside Eats & Beats

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One of the east end's most hyped al fresco attractions, Riverside Eats & Beats returns to the Queen East neighbourhood on June 2.

Now in its sixth year, the street festival pulls in big crowds for its mix of local fare, live music, street shopping and charming small-town-big-city vibe. Stretching from the DVP along Queen East to Empire Ave., the sidewalks are filled with live music, while local restaurants dish out signature eats.

Casually wander this 10-block street party with four street closures and several destination points. Sniff and taste your way through a maze of Riverside's eateries, checking out heritage architecture and taking in entertainment including cooking demos, kids fun, bike tune-ups, art and culinary tours. And if you just like to people-watch, there’s that, too.

With over 50 Riverside restaurants, shops and other vendors participating, here’s what to expect and what’s new for 2018.

LOCAL FOOD & DRINK

What’s a festival without food? If you’ve attended Riverside Eats & Beats in the past, you know that the eats can be serious stuff so it's best to come hungry. Not your usual street fair fare (zing), it's a one-stop shop for grazing with popular establishments such as Tabule, Sweet Jesus, Kaboom, Pulp Kitchen and Sugar Load all in the mix offering tasty bites. 

Check out live music and pop-up food paired with cold craft brews at Saulter Street Brewery, just steps south of the festival’s Saulter Street closure. 

MUSICAL SOUNDS

Riverside Eats & Beats has a packed lineup of musical performances to jam out to with all sorts of sounds ranging from samba to funk. Check out live musical performances on the Eats & Beats Main Stage at Broadview, along with cold brews in the Eastbound Beer Garden. 

Performances: 1:00pm Turbo Street Funk, 2:00pm Welcome & DJ Beats, 2:45pm Charleston Lesson with Bees’ Knees Dance, 3:00pm Sugar Foot Stompers, 4:00pm Samba Toronto, and 5:00pm DJ Beats. 

SIDEWALK SALE

Queen East is well known for its clothing boutiques, home design shops and art galleries, and the local shops will be bursting out onto the streets with deals during this daylong sidewalk sale. Enjoy a day of strolling vendor to vendor and shopping outdoors where you’ll find clothes, jewelry, homemade wares and more.

Stop by Lone&Co Salon’s sidewalk booth and cast your ballot for a Kevin Murphy gift basket, a $200 value. Shop Riverdale Trading Co’s sidewalk sale with 20% off vinyl. New clients to Waxon Waxbar receive a free service. Meet local artisans at Arts Market while shopping over 50 vendors under one roof. The store will be hosting live music by Joanna Kellam from Scribble Me Silly from 1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY FUN

Family-friendly activities are always a big part of Riverside Eats & Beats, and this year is no exception. Switchback Cyclery will be on hand to give expert advice and bicycle safety checks, plus kids can hone their rules of the road skills and knowledge in the Kids Bike Rodeo. 

Quince Flowers invites you to get dirty with a terrarium workshop, plus they will have their popular photo booth where they’ll be creating complimentary living botanical tattoos.

There will be lots of interactive kids activities outside the Queen/Saulter Library including a pop-up Learning Lab 3D printer demo, face painting and more. 

RIVERDALE ART WALK

Riverside Eats & Beats is held alongside the Riverdale Art Walk (Saturday and Sunday), an event that showcases over 150 local artists in an outdoor market setting over two days at Jimmie Simpson Park. Now in its 20th year, the outdoor gallery setting features established and emerging artists exhibiting painting, photography, mixed media, printmaking, drawing and sculpture. Check out artistsnetwork.ca for details.

The Riverside Eats & Beats Streetfest is taking place June 2 from 1 p.m. - 6 p.m. View the full event guide, and check out all the details and register for activities