By Toby Barrett, MPP
The First of July kicks off the multitude of summer events and festivals across Haldimand and Norfolk.
Everyone loves a parade, making for happy people throughout the summer. Canada Day, and previously Dominion Day, features the big parades in Port Dover and Caledonia. Following Canada Day, parades are a big part of Cayugafest on July 15, Selkirk’s Gasfest on Aug 10 to 12 and at Port Rowan’s Bayfest on the Labour Day weekend.
And there are so many other events throughout the summer, including Lavender Festival, antique farm machinery shows and rodeos.
Lavender Festival, on July 7 and 8, is split between Norfolk’s two producers – Bonnieheath Estate Lavender and Winery, and Apple Hill Lavender www.norfolklanvenderfestival.com . Whispering Hearts Horse Rescue will also host its open house on the same weekend, while the No. 6 RCAF opens to the public in Dunnville.
July also boasts this year’s second Friday the 13th, aka PD 13, in Port Dover.
Western fans will be thrilled that the Norfolk Ram Rodeo will be returning for its third year on July 14 and 15. Held at the Timmermans Ranch on Nixon Road, this event is a full-blown rodeo and is part of the Ontario Ram Tour. It provides thrills for cowboys, cowgirls and cowpersons of all ages. www.norfolkramrodeo.ca
Hagersville Rocks presents a wide variety of music on July 27 and 28. http://www.hagersvillerocks.com/
Threshing machines, antique tractors and other vintage farm equipment will all be part of the Walpole Antique Farm Machinery Association’s Heritage Days throughout the August long weekend. www.wafma.ca
Civic Holiday will be a busy weekend in Norfolk with the Lynn River Music and Arts Festival in Simcoe. Rockabilly on the River is Friday’s theme, the blues will be the focus Saturday, psychedelic music on Sunday and local bands will take the stage on Monday. Arts and crafts are on display throughout the weekend. http://www.lynnriverfestival.com
This weekend is also the Simcoe Composite School’s 125th anniversary celebrations.
Last year, I introduced the Simcoe Day Act to name the August Civic holiday as Simcoe Day in Ontario to commemorate the province’s first lieutenant governor. During my research, I developed an appreciation and admiration for John Graves Simcoe – his leadership of the Queens Rangers against George Washington’s army, and his creation of the core institutions that anchor the success of present day Ontario.
Turkey Point’s Summerfest runs Aug. 8 to 12 this year. www.turkeypoint.ca
A unique event at Backus Heritage Conservation Area is the presentation of the adventure comedy “The Angel of Long Point: An Erie Melodrama”. This play is written in the style of a melodrama, which were presented in small Ontario communities prior to the First World War. Inspiration for the story comes from Abigail Becker, the ‘Heroine of Long Point’, who single-handedly saved several sailors in a shipwreck off Long Point in the 1800s. It runs Aug. 9 to 12 in the Forbes Barn at Backus. This play is one in a series of events over the summer at Backus. www.lprca.on.ca
The South Coast Jazz Festival returns to Port Dover Aug. 17 to 19. www.southcoastjazz.com
These events are just a very few of the highlights of the summer in Haldimand and Norfolk. Try to catch many of the numerous barbecues, brunches, teas, church suppers, car shows, concerts and just plain fun events that pop up over this wonderful time of year!