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An 'Ocean Pearl' of a headliner: 54-40 coming in for Valley East Days

About 30,000 people typically attend the late-summer community festival

Following a tradition established the last few years where Valley East Days has brought in bigger bands, Canadian alternative rock band 54-40 headlines the late-summer community festival's Saturday rock night this year.

You might recognize some of the band's popular tunes, including “Ocean Pearl” and “I Go Blind.”

Headliners in previous editions of the festival, which celebrates its 44th year in 2019, have included Kim Mitchell and Trooper.

“54-40 is actually a little bit different than our typical band,” said Chris Vitiello, one of the organizers of the Sept. 6-8 festival.

“Normally we bring in the classic bands like Trooper and Kim Mitchell for the baby boomers. 54-40, they were really hot in the 90s. It's more of a 40s crowd (that the festival is catering to this year).

“It's something different that we're trying that we're really looking forward to. I'm super excited. This is kind of music that I listed to growing up.”

Valley East Days kicks off Friday night with Country Night, featuring headliners Blackjack Billy, an American country rock group.

“They're very uptemp, party type kind of country rock,” said Vitiello. “They're very popular in Nashville, and it's the first American band we bring up actually. So that's kind of different.”

Both Country Night and Rock Night are 19+ events, and take place at the Hanmer Valley Shopping Centre. Besides the headliners, a variety of tribute acts and local musicians will be performing.

Tickets cost $50 at the gate each evening.

Of course, Valley East Days offers plenty of other activities, including a family-friendly festival at the Hanmer Valley Shopping Centre and Horizon school both Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

There's vendors, inflatables, science demonstrations, a petting zoo, car show, magic show, a ventriloquist, live music and more.

A food drive in memory of the late Valley East businessman Michael Biglow, who was killed in a 2018 motorcycle crash, raises funds and non-perishable food for the Valley East food bank.

Valley East Days is capped off Sunday night at dusk with fireworks at the Howard Armstrong Recreation Centre.

Vitiello, the owner of Cousin Vinny's Restaurant in Hanmer and Chelmsford, said it's thanks to the sponsorship of 185 community businesses that Valley East Days exists.

“To have 185 businesses make this happen for people, that is incredible,” he said.

He said the festival attracts about 30,000 people throughout the weekend. It's not just for Valley East residents — organizers advertise throughout Greater Sudbury inviting people out to enjoy what the area has to offer.

“It's very small town,” Vitiello said. “Everybody knows everybody in the community. I love living here. I think people enjoy coming out here too.”

For more information about Valley East Days, check out the festival's website.