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2 min

Perverted play day

Fifth-annual Church Street Fetish Fair

FUN ON A LEASH. Visitors tie one on at last year's Church Street Fetish Fair. Credit: Nicola Betts

On Sun, Aug 17 all kinds of kinky folk will converge on the gaybourhood for the fifth-annual Church Street Fetish Fair, organized by the Church-Wellesley Village Business Improvement Area (CWVBIA).

“Everybody is welcome to come out in the street in fetish wear,” says Cam Lewis, executive director for the fair, “but if not just come out to the street and enjoy the patios and music. It will be a daylong, relaxed, fun event.”

Church St will be closed to cars from 8am to midnight, between Gloucester and Alexander, with entertainment and activities from noon until 7pm.

“This year we’ve expanded to three stages — two main stages and a demo stage at Cawthra Park,” says Lewis. “The fetish stage has a bunch of different instructional demos including everything from mummification, fire play, bondage, flogging, rope bondage and a puppy play kennel.”

The other stages will offer entertainment that is less obvious in its perverted appeal.

“At the other two main stages we showcase all kinds of musical acts, everything from rock to electronica to country,” says Lewis. “Two head-liners are Frenchie Davis, a contestant on American Idol who performed on Broadway in the plays Rent and Chicago, as well as Billie Newton-Davis who was with The Nylons.”

The fair will also offer a fetish marketplace, street performers and community information booths. Volunteers from Mr Leatherman Toronto (MLT) will be collecting donations along the street with all money raised going to the AIDS Committee of Toronto.

This year the bootblack competition component will get an image makeover. The competition, run as the North American Bootblack Contest for the past four years, will be rebranded the Church Street Fetish Fair Bootblack Competition.

“It turned out to be a local contest with very few international contestants,” says Black-Jack Pearce, MLT Bootblack Toronto 2008 and producer of this year’s contest, which is sponsored by Alibi and CWVBIA. “If the winner is from Toronto they’ll be given the option to enter the bootblack competition hosted by MLT,” which takes place in November during MLT weekend.

Registration for the contest closed Aug 5; there will be three bootblacks competing for the title. Between 12:30pm and 5:30pm anyone will be able to come by and have their boots polished by one of the competitors.

“The winner is determined by a panel of knowledgable judges in four different categories: interview, artistry, technique and customer relations,” says Pearce.

Unlike previous years the annual MLT Leather Ball will not take place on the night before the fair, due to an issue with the booking of the venue.

“It was simply a matter of the original venue doublebooking on the original date,” says MLT secretary Peter Rex. “After significant effort we were able to secure the following Saturday — Aug 23 — at the Opera House. Certainly not ideal, but the best solution under unfortunate circumstances.

“It is definitely MLT’s intention and preference to have Leather Ball on the same weekend as the Church Street Fetish Fair, which we look forward to doing next year.”