There’s no shortage of things to do this summer

 By MPP Toby Barrett

As you read this, chances are I am sprucing up my red tractor preparing for First of July celebrations across the riding.

I plan to be in the Canada Day parade in Caledonia in the morning, and Port Dover in the afternoon. Both are long-standing spectacles, and will be even bigger with the advent of Canada’s 150th. If Dover is your destination, note the parade route has changed considerably due to construction. At some point, also take a moment to consider this is Ontario’s 225 anniversary – the Ontario Legislature first met on Sept. 17, 1792.

Haldimand-Norfolk’s Festive Season kicked off with bang this year during the welcome return of the Jarvis May 24 fireworks and parade. And Dunnville’s Mudcat in June again did not disappoint with its parade, car show and dinners.

Lavender is one of many specialty crops that has taken off in Norfolk County in recent years – something that will be celebrated July 8 and 9 during Lavender Festival. Your chance to experience all things lavender is divided between Bonnieheath Estate Lavender and Winery, and Apple Hill Lavender.

The banks of the Grand River will be bustling again July 15 as Cayugafest’s annual parade winds through the streets. Cayugafest caters to music fans with country on Friday and rock on Saturday. Check out Kidz Zone, the soapbox derby, firefighter’s breakfast, the town-wide yard sale and car show.

The Walpole Antique Farm Machinery Association’s Heritage Days run from July 30 to Aug. 1 at their park on Highway 6 south of Jarvis. If you are a fan of old tractors, thrashing machines and vintage farm equipment, don’t miss it.

Simcoe Day Civic Holiday Weekend will again feature the Lynn River Music and Arts Festival in Simcoe, Aug. 5 to 7. A wide variety of musical acts will take to the stages in Wellington and Clifton Parks over the weekend. Artists of all types will display their work.

Throughout the summer, history meets nature with a wide range of fun things to do at Backus Heritage Conservation Area. This year includes Canada 150 celebrations, vintage baseball games, a barn dance and special events highlighting the mill’s role in the community.

Turkey Point will be bustling more than usual during Summerfest from Aug. 9 to 13.Events at the pavilion provide thrills for kids of all ages.

Selkirk’s Gasfest provides a full weekend Aug. 11 to 13, highlighting the area’s historical association with natural gas drilling. Tractor pulls at Bruce’s Landing on the Grand also run that weekend.

Art in the Park is one of the longstanding highlights of Port Dover’s Summer Festival on Aug. 19 and 20 in the downtown’s Powell Park. The weekend also features antiques and an emphasis on the town’s famous eateries.

Port Rowan’s Bayfest is known for its traditional baby show and dog show, plus the rubber frog toss, Build-A-Boat By the Bay and Stark’s Canadian Long Drive Contest. Highlights of the weekend include the parade, and then fireworks to provide an explosive end to the summer.

And mix this all in with the plethora of brunches, barbecues, teas and church suppers; the ongoing car shows and concerts; and all the other get-togethers that make Haldimand and Norfolk one of the best places to be in the summer!