A fall full of local fairs and weekend festivals

By MPP Toby Barrett

Port Rowan’s Bayfest and Hagersville’s Summer End are an annual tradition in Haldimand and Norfolk. They are the start of a fall chock full of festivals and other events.

The War of 1812 re-enactment at Backus Mill, on September 6 and 7, takes on special significance this year during the bi-centennial of the end of the conflict. It also marks 200 years since a war was waged on Canadian soil.

Delhi’s Harvest Fest and the festival spirit in town has led to the launching of a new Fall Festival, slated for Sept. 19 to 21.

The fair and agriculture society tradition dates back to a time before confederation. August to October are fair months for Dunnville, Tillsonburg, Langton, Houghton, Caledonia, Walsh and Simcoe.

Many small one and two-day fairs have fallen on hard times, but those in our area persevere. Nail-driving and potato peeling harken back to days of old at Langton Fair on Sept. 24, and again a day later at the Houghton Fair. The big highlight of the Donnybook Fair in Walsh is always the demolition derby, held on Sept. 28. The two-day event starts on Saturday.

The last week of September is busy, with the Caledonia Fair from Sept. 25 to 28. This year’s theme is “Celebrate the Family Farm”.

Norfolk County Fair and Horse Show is one of the province’s oldest and largest continuous fairs, held since 1840. Originally known as the Talbot District Agricultural Society, the fair is now presented by the Norfolk County Agricultural Society. 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. 7-13.

Waterford’s Pumpkinfest, Oct. 17-19, winds down festival season for 2014. Pumpkinfest is well worth waiting for and boasts a first-rate parade, a car show, soap box derby and more.

Agriculture predominates fall events. The Waterford Museum Heritage Tractor Run is Sept. 13 this year. Local plowing matches are scheduled for Norfolk on Sept. 6, Haldimand on Oct. 4 and the Oneida event Oct. 11. The granddaddy of plowing matches, the International Plowing Match is Sept. 16 to 20 in Simcoe County, near Alliston.

Culture and the arts are featured through festivals and other events. Doors Open Haldimand, Norfolk’s Studio Tour, the Rotary house tour and Festival by the Bay are annual events. The South Coast Jazz Festival is a new event on Sept. 20 at Burning Kiln Winery.

Remembrance Day this year will hold a special meeting as it marks the centennial of the First World War. November 11 was chosen to recognize the sacrifices made by Canadians and other Commonwealth Countries as hostilities formally ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. Ceremonies are held in various locations in Haldimand and Norfolk to pay tribute to those who gave their lives for our freedom.

From red poppies to red Santa suits, people then move into Christmas mode. Santa Claus parades are held in Port Dover, Tillsonburg, Cayuga, Dunnville, Delhi, Caledonia and Hagersville through late November and early December. Simcoe’s Panorama is truly a spectacle of lights and Christmas icons.

Hope to see you at some of these events, or contact me at [email protected]