By MPP Toby Barrett
If the recent Dunnville Mudcat Parade was any indication, the coming summer and fall will be great for festivals. A record crowd lined the streets for over two hours of floats and bands. The honorary parade marshal was local boy and captain of industry Vic Powell.
We in Haldimand or Norfolk can attend a festival or two almost every weekend – common to many is a parade, kids’ activities, a car show and, of course, food.
June is busy in the Delhi area. Delhi Strawberry Festival includes a Mustang show. ‘A Day in La Salette’ is my kind of event with antique tractors, another car show and the work of artisans on display.
The official start of summer , especially in Caledonia and Port Dover, is the First of July. Thousands line the streets for these first-rate parades.
Bonnieheath’s Lavenderfest on July 18 – south of Waterford – is a truly colourful event of the summer. Watch for one of my antique vehicles at this fragrant festival July 4 and 5. Le Tour de Norfolk brings hundreds of cyclists to the riding on July 18 for a huge bike tour.
It might only be one day, but Fisherville Lions Fun Day on July 11 is packed full of events, such as a fastball tournament and attractions for young people.
For the second year, Hagersville Rocks takes place on July 25. Country sensation Tim Hicks and Alan Doyle, of Great Big Sea fame, are amongst the great artists in the line-up. While on the topic of music, the Lynn River Music and Arts Festival will take place in Simcoe, Aug 2-4 – as well as some country tunes and lots of agricultural iron at the Walpole Antique Farm Machinery Heritage Days in Jarvis.
With Lake Erie being the southern border of both Norfolk and Haldimand, festivals along the lake are part of the summer. Turkey Point’s Summerfest is on Aug. 8. Port Dover Summerfest will be Aug. 15 and 16. Port Rowan’s Bayfest on the Labour Day weekend brings mixed feelings – a sense of melancholy that summer is coming to an end, but also excitement.
Although not on the lake, the Grand River is the backdrop for another terrific event. In spite of road construction and lack of construction on the bridge, CayugaFest promises to be a great day on July 18. Invasion of the Dragons will bring dragon boats to Waterford on July 25. This is a fundraiser for CIBC Run for the Cure and local cancer programs.
Our area’s history and rural roots are kept alive through many other festivals and fairs.
Selkirk’s Gasfest is on Aug. 8. Backus Heritage Conservation Area has events most weekends throughout the summer with an historic backdrop. Highlights include Pioneer Life Day on July 11, the Heritage Hoedown Barn Dance on Aug. 1 and the War of 1812 re-enactment on Sept. 12 and 13.
Farm fairs have long been an important venue to promote our rural heritage. This is true of the Dunnville Agriculture Fair, at its new airport location, on Aug. 22 and 23, and the Tillsonburg Tri-County Fair, Aug. 13-16.
The second annual Delhi Fall Festival will be held Sept. 18 to 20. On tap are a parade, car show, midway and talent show.
Be sure to get out this summer to enjoy what’s offered.