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Empty Bowls Art Festival serves up support

The 13th annual Empty Bowls Art Fesitval, Sept. 21 at the Airdrie Food Bank, will once again feature a chance for attendees to bid for bowls painted by local artists and community members. File Photo/Rocky View Publishing

Back for its 13th year, the Airdrie Food Bank’s (AFB) annual Empty Bowls Art Festival has become a valued tradition in the city.

“Our Empty Bowls Festival is our way of thanking our community for their continued support,” said Christine Taylor, AFB marketing and communication manager.

The free Sept. 21 event showcases bowls hand-painted by community members, which are available for purchase for a suggested donation of $20, and acts as a celebration of the community while raising funds for and awareness of AFB programming.

“Ninety per cent of the food and the money that comes into the food bank is community- and business-donated,” Taylor said. “Only 10 per cent of the money we receive comes from the government. But those are government grants that we have to apply for, so we get zero money for provincial or federal funding.”

She said one of the school programs the fundrasier supports is the Snack Attack program, which provides emergency snack, breakfast and/or lunch items to 22 schools in Airdrie and surrounding area. Another, the Best Beginnings Hamper program, provides nutritional support by improving access to healthy foods and promoting food security for expectant mothers and their families. For a complete list of AFB programs, visit

“[The donations] go to all of our programs, and without money donations, we aren’t able to run those programs because we do have to purchase food,” Taylor said.

The event also features a bowl auction where attendees can bid on larger bowls painted by prominent locals.

“So, people like [Coun.] Tina Petrow, who has painted a large bowl, and lots of artists that come and paint at Color Me Mine at our painting parties in August,” Taylor said.

The festival would not be complete without something to fill those empty bowls with.

“Of course, [we’ll have] our famous soup lunch, where we have 10 to 15 businesses in Airdrie who donate these soups, buns and cake for us, and everybody can enjoy a warm bowl of soup, all of the activities and have a little fun,” Taylor said. “The best part, though, is the event is free.”

The festival includes “tons of kids activities,” she said, including cookie decorating, face painting, henna design, a bouncy house and live entertainment.

“We also have Color Me Mine coming with some small bowls for the kids to paint with a suggested $5 donation,” Taylor added.

The festivities kick off Sept. 21 at 11 a.m. at AFB, located at 20 East Lake Way, and will wrap up at 3 p.m.

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