By MPP Toby Barrett
Formerly known as Dominion Day, Canada Day not only marks our nation’s birthday, but also marks the unofficial start of what is a busy summer full of events across our area.
The two First of July parades in the riding are always a sight to see. Caledonia starts the day with the largest parade of the year in town. Although more people come to Port Dover for PD 13, First of July has traditionally been Dover’s biggest gathering every year since Confederation.
The July 6 and 7 Lavender Festival celebrates one of Norfolk’s new niche crops — a joint effort between Bonnieheath Estate Lavender and Winery as well as Apple Hill Lavender. www.norfolklavenderfestival.com
Dust off your cowboy hats and boots the following weekend for the Norfolk Ram Rodeo at Timmerman’s Ranch July 20 and 21 – held between Rattlesnake Harbour and Nixon (www.norfolkramrodeo.ca). The Cayugafest Parade, car show, and entertainment has been postponed until next year. A new team of volunteers are organizing www.cayugafest.ca
Hagersville Rocks has a sizzling line-up this year www.hagersvillerocks.com on July 26 and 27. Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo fame is among the headlines on Friday with his new Jim Cuddy Band. The country line-up on Saturday includes several big name groups, including The Reklaws, Meghan Patrick and Genevieve Fisher.
It’s a trip down memory lane on the August long weekend, not only for those who celebrate John Graves Simcoe Day, but also with Walpole Antique Farm Machinery Association’s Heritage Days in Jarvis. www.wafma.ca . The Lynn River Music and Arts Festival has something for people with diverse tastes. Between music, crafts and arts, the festival draws big crowds to Simcoe’s park over the entire August long weekend. www.lynnriverfestival.com
Aug. 7-11 is Turkey Point’s annual Summerfest. Over the five days, entertainment and activities draw people to the lakeside community.
This year is a big one for the Dunnville Fair as it celebrates its 25th anniversary on Aug. 10 and 11. The Dunnville Agricultural Society always does an impressive job with this event, and the silver anniversary this year promises to be extra special. www.dunnvillefair.ca Haldimand’s association with the natural gas industry is highlighted the same weekend with Selkirk’s Gasfest. Barbecues, bands, a parade and a car show are highlights of the weekend. http://www.selkirk-ontario.com/festivals
Long Point Region Conservation Area’s parks in both Haldimand and Norfolk have a summer slate full of events. These range from fishing derbies, astronomy nights and nature hikes to heritage events such as vintage baseball games and a tea with a descendant of the Backus family. And speaking of baseball, did you know the first game was played in 1838 in Beachville, not in the US? One unique highlight this year is a historical play at Backus Aug. 8-11 called Pirates of Long Point. https://www.lprca.on.ca/pages/1357673545/Events-Calendar
The Civil War Re-enactment on Aug. 17 and 18 at the Circle G Ranch west of Cayuga pays tribute to the role Canadians played in the Battle Between the States.
Appropriately, the summer ends with Hagersville’s Summer’s End Festival. This is also the weekend of Port Rowan’s Bayfest, lots to see and do, and another of the big parades of the summer.
Much to celebrate!
Toby Barrett is MPP for Haldimand and Norfolk