A fall full of local fairs and weekend festivals

By MPP Toby Barrett

As summer turns to fall, in a lot of areas festivals start to wind down. Not so in Haldimand and Norfolk.

Hard on the heels of an action-packed summer, Port Rowan welcomes the
Labour Day weekend with its Bayfest festivities. A week later Delhi Harvest Festival takes place on a new weekend, and Port Dover will be packed for Friday the 13th. The glass in my office will shake as thousands of bikers rumble by en route to what often can be the largest one-day gathering of motorcycles in North America.

The War of 1812-14 re-enactment at Backus Mill will be grand scale as the
200th anniversary of that conflict continues. Backus Mill was the only mill
on the north shore of Lake Erie to escape burning by invading American
forces. The Battle of Nanticoke re-enactment will be Nov. 9 and 10 at the
Haldimand County Archives in Cayuga.

The popularity of television’s Duck Dynasty highlights another part of our
area’s storied history- waterfowling. Long Point Waterfowl presents its third annual Duck Day on Sunday, September 22. This free event highlights conservation and duck hunting history. It’s held at the Long Point Waterfowl Centre — former Turkey Point Ranger Station.

Fall fairs trace their ancestry to pre-biblical times. In Ontario, fairs have
been sponsored by agricultural societies since before Confederation, and our local showcases are no exception. Rural fairs, which take place between August and November, are more than 225 strong in the province. Locally, we host seven – Dunnville, Tillsonburg, Langton, Houghton, Caledonia, Donnybrook and Norfolk.

The Langton Fair is on Sept. 18, followed by Houghton a week later. Both
feature old-time country fair events like nail driving, potato peeling, school parades, competitions for school kids and midways. The highlights of Walsh’s Donnybrook Fair on Sept. 28 and 29 are the demolition derbies and car show. The Dunnville and Tillsonburg fairs are held in August.

The Caledonia Fair has been held on the banks of the Grand River since only seven years after Confederation, home craft and horticultural displays were a centre of the Caledonia Fair since the beginning. It’s scheduled for Sept. 26-29.

The Norfolk County Fair and Horse Show is one of the province’s oldest and largest continuous fairs, held every year since 1840. Not only is the week-long event important to the riding, but the fair association hosts many other events during the year – most recently, Mumford and Sons. In the buildings surrounding a first-rate midway, there are agricultural displays and competitions for both children and adults. This year’s dates are Oct. 8-14.

After fair season we all look forward to Waterford’s Pumpkinfest Oct. 18-20 – again with yet another first-rate parade.

The many Remembrance Day ceremonies bring us all together. One of the
first is hosted by the South Brant Legion in Oakland. We recognize our
veterans and recognize their personal sacrifice for our freedom.

From somber, it’s all joy as we move into Christmas celebration mode.
Santa Claus parades are held in Port Dover, Tillsonburg, Cayuga, Dunnville, Delhi, Caledonia and Hagersville throughout November and December. And Simcoe’s Panorama is a seasonal highlight for so many, both in and out of
the riding.

Hope to see you at some of these events.