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Musical Muskrat Fun

12 Jun

muskrat 1by Diva Nicole Olson

This past weekend, my family and I attended the Musical Muskrat Festival at Riverside Park in Wingham. What is a Musical Muskrat Festival? Well, it’s when small rodent-like creatures put on performances with tiny little instruments… Actually, the name comes from Wingham’s extensive musical history … and the muskrat, a rodent that lives along the banks of the Maitland River. Together, it’s a catchy, thought-provoking name for the event.

The Musical Muskrat Festival runs every year, the second weekend in June and is jam-packed with things to do and see for the whole family. For the kids, there were several inflatable attractions, a rock climbing wall, a clown making balloon animals, and face painting. There were also snack booths, breakfasts and BBQ available. For the adults, there was a refreshment tent, a rib cooking competition, car show and recreational volleyball.

Firemen's Races at the Musical Muskrat Festival

Firemen’s Races at the Musical Muskrat Festival

One of the highlights of the weekend for us was watching firemen from surrounding areas compete in the Fireman’s  Games. There were several obstacle course-type events and the firemen raced to have the fastest time. We also watched the Mighty Maitland Regatta Cardboard Boat Races. There was enough duct tape involved in this event to make Red Green proud! In addition, we took in a couple Wingham Hitmen fastball games. (We are big fans of the blue and orange!)

Cardboard Boat Races

Cardboard Boat Races

The  best part of the festival was listening to the live music. There were performances by Richard Garvey Band, Snakebite, Stacey Zegers, River Junction Band and Patrick Main. The music played from about 5 PM to 1 AM on Friday and Saturday evenings and 10 AM to 1 PM on Sunday. Having these talented musicians play at a venue like the Riverside Park was such a great experience. Admission to see the bands was $5, and there was a cost for food and refreshments, but everything else listed above was free to attend and participate in. For more information on this annual event, check out their website http://www.musicalmuskratfestival.com/

Live Music at Riverside Park

Live Music at Riverside Park

We're Fans of the Hitman!

We’re Fans of the Hitman!

Mini Diva Lyla and Mom Nicole having a great time at the Musical Muskrat Festival
Mini Diva Lyla and Mom Nicole having a great time at the Musical Muskrat Festival

 

Hensall Celebrates Community with 145th Spring Fair

10 Jun

by Diva Trista Russell

I haven’t been to the Hensall Spring Fair since I was a kid, so it was neat to see how it has changed over the years. This year the Fair is celebrating its 145th year, which is quite the accomplishment considering the amount of volunteers and dedication it takes to keep rural Fairs going! When I drove into Hensall, the Main Street was decorated with green and yellow ribbons. That was really nice to see how Hensall takes pride in its events.

 

exhibits at the Hensall Spring Fair

exhibits at the Hensall Spring Fair

Admission to the fair is free, and in lieu of admission they accept non-perishable food donations. On the Friday evening while I was there, they had a fish fry supper, teddy bear picnic, bike rodeo, and later on an elimination draw and dance. There were a variety of vendors on the ice surface, and the local school had a food booth. There was a firefighter smoke house on the ball diamonds where kids could practice their escape in case of a fire, and there was also a pie cafe where you could enjoy a slice of homemade pie. On Saturday, a number of other events were happening including a $10 all day play pass for the kids to enjoy games and a “Baby Bean” baby show.

There was the usual homecraft division where kids and adults submitted baking, arts, and crafts for judging and prizes. Looking at the entries reminded when I was kid and did the same for the Exeter Fall Fair. It’s nice that this tradition still continues and exhibitors get recognition for their hard work and talent. One of my favourite categories were the persuasive writing entries arguing for and against having the day off school to go to the fair (see photo). Not surprisingly, most  of the Grade 3 students argued to have the day off, but there were a couple that argued against!

Information about the Hensall Spring Fair can be found on Hensall’s website. The Hensall South Huron Agricultural Society (Hensall Fair) is also on Facebook.
persuasive writing entries

persuasive writing entries

children's artwork
children’s artwork

 

baking at the Hensall Spring Fair

baking at the Hensall Spring Fair

 

 

Getting dirty, mudbog style!

7 Jun

Mud Bog at Waltonby Diva Jenna Ujiye

Walton, Ontario, is known as “motocross town” and that would be because of the Walton Transcan and motocross events held each year at the Walton Raceway. Every year Walton seems to add even more events and experiences and this year I was able to head to the first truck mudbog of the year!Walton Mudbog

I have been to events like this over the past few years and the event this year sure showed me what a true mudbog is. Wikipedia tells me that “a mudbog is a form of off-road motorsport popular in Canada and the United States in which the goal is to drive a vehicle through a pit of mud of a set length.” So mudbogging is part of our Canadian culture!

Walton Mudbog

I was only able to stay for about half an hour, but in that time I wasn’t able to take my eyes off of the track. A couple of trucks that went through looked to be an everyday truck and when they get out of the mud there was soo much guck hanging from the bottom of the truck… I can only imagine what people would think if I drove my truck to work in that condition!Walton Mudbog

Most of the trucks were modified with mud tires and snorkels (allows air to travel to the engine) and just flew through the mud pit! You may think that this sort of activity is not your cup of tea, but you could be proven wrong. I was with 45 people from all over the place with an age range from 17 – 72, both male and female, and we surveyed all of the people and only two of them didn’t enjoy the experience!

Walton plans to do many more events throughout the year, check their website for more information: http://waltonraceway.ca/event-calendar/

An Evening at the Clinton Spring Fair

5 Jun
100_1559by Guest Diva-for-a-Day, Amanda Piskorki
Last weekend I attended the 159th Clinton Spring Fair. Saturday night I had the pleasure of attending the night life of the fair that consisted of fair rides and some games to win prizes. I was surprised to see the games and rides still in full swing at 9PM! I guess they didn’t want the fun to stop. Also, an event on Saturday, the demolition derby was the most popular amongst my crowd as was a beer tent where I shared conversation and drinks with fellow fair goers, friends and family. I will definitely be attending next year and encourage others to as well.  In my opinion (this was) one of the best events of summer!

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games at Clinton Fair

games at Clinton Fair

Amanda Piskorski lives just outside of Goderich near Dunlop.  She is Cooping in the Planning and Development department in Goderich for the summer, assisting Karri Sonke a GIS specialist. Piskorski goes to school at Georgian College for Environmental Technology in Barrie.

Art in the Bend

8 May
Hand carved boxes by Wayne Smith

Hand carved boxes by Wayne Smith

by Diva Trista Russell

Art lover? Then check out Sunset Arts Gallery in Grand Bend this summer! The first weekend in May was the grand opening for their 2013 season. Sunset Arts Gallery was also part of the annual Grand Bend Area Studio Tour called “Arts, Eats, & Beats” that was held on the same weekend. This tour had three different routes, and Sunset Arts was part of the Grand Bend Central route. The gallery is located at 63 River Road, which is right beside the Grand Bend marina. At the grand opening, Sunset offered an opportunity to meet the artists and enjoy refreshments and art demonstrations.

The gallery features the work of a dozen different artists, with a variety of paintings of landscapes and abstract art, as well as pottery, hand carved wooden boxes, and handmade jewellery.

Catherine Weber, an artist from South Huron, is the founder of Sunset Arts. It’s great to see local artists at work. Local art is unique, and you can be one of a select few to have these art pieces in your home!

Pottery on display by Nancy Marshall

Pottery on display by Nancy Marshall

Sunset Arts Gallery Hours:
May 4 to June 16: Saturday 11 – 6pm, Sunday 12 – 6pm
June 17 to September 3: Monday – Saturday 11 – 6pm, Sunday 12 – 6pm
September 7 to October 14: Saturday 11 – 6pm, Sunday 12 – 6pm

Sunset Arts Gallery
63 River Road
Grand Bend, Ontario
N0M 1T0

Telephone: 519-238-6914
www.sunsetarts.info

View of the Grand Bend Marina behind Sunset Arts

View of the Grand Bend Marina behind Sunset Arts

Rear entrance to Sunset Arts Gallery

Rear entrance to Sunset Arts Gallery

Beach landscapes on canvas by Martina Bruggerman

Beach landscapes on canvas by Martina Bruggerman

Artwork by Mary Lynn Smith

Artwork by Mary Lynn Smith

Live art demo at Sunset Arts Gallery

Live art demo at Sunset Arts Gallery

Another Successful Fish Fry in “Beantown”

27 Apr
Greg and Cheryl Becker, front and Carolyn and Peter Mathoni enjoy the Zurich Lion's Fish Fry

Greg and Cheryl Becker, front and Carolyn and Peter Mathoni enjoy the Zurich Lion’s Fish Fry

by Diva Kerri Gingerch

It’s not surprising that tickets were sold out before the end of the night for the 8th Annual Lions Club Fish Fry and Silent Auction held last Friday night in Zurich.

‘This year was one of the best yet’, says Lion / Bartender John Becker.  The meal, comprised of crispy, battered whitefish, tartar sauce, dinner roll, baked potato with butter and sour cream, coleslaw and pie for dessert was absolutely amazing and Chef Terry Johns and his crew did a fantastic job.  The intermittent rain didn’t put a damper on their spirits as they worked outside at the portable fryer that was their ‘kitchen’ for a good part of the evening.

You'll always find yummy desserts being served a community dinners in Huron County.  Home-made pie is one of the most popular.

You’ll always find yummy desserts being served a community dinners in Huron County. Home-made pie is one of the most popular.

The hundreds of items graciously donated by area businesses for the silent auction also contributed significantly to the success of this fundraiser.  As a local resident since birth I think I can say that Zurich doesn’t exactly have the reputation of the classiest village in the area but what we do have is a lot of caring individuals who are actively involved and trying to make a difference, and this event was indeed a class-act.

The amount of work it must have been to put on an event of this magnitude is not something some might even consider but is something that really should be appreciated.  Go Lions!

 

Unique objects, vintage collections at Collector’s Show

22 Apr
Bill Osborn, from Mitchell, shares his collection of scales.

Bill Osborn, from Mitchell, shares his collection of scales.

by Diva Karen Stewart

The 13th Annual Bayfield Historical Society Collector Exhibition was held this past weekend at the Bayfield Arena.  The show included 33 “Taste of Huron” packages sold at the live auction on Saturday as well as a Silent Auction that ran throughout the two-day event and included over 160 packages.

Co-ordinators Binnie Sturgeon and Phil Gemeinhardt say the show receives good support from local sponsors as well as businesses and individuals who contribute to the auction packages.  “There are just two rules about participating as an exhibitor in the show,” says Gemeinhardt “1) don’t bring the same display two years in a row, and 2) don’t come back if you didn’t have fun.  Many exhibitors return year after year, but we try to recruit new-comers too.”

New exhibits this year included a sizeable collection of memorabilia from the Huron County Museum re:  The Great Storm (this is the first event in the year-long schedule of activities commemorating the extra-ordinary storm that hit the Great Lakes in November 1913); and, Tim Wellstead and Jodi Jerome who are, as we reach the 100th anniversary of the start of the great war, researching stories to share of Huron’s WWI battalion soldiers for The Huron 161st Battalion Project.

Other exhibits included heritage tools, steam engines, model trains, Queen Elizabeth Coronation, First Nations, toys including a collection of riding toys, Warhammer Collectables and He-man Toys.    This was, for me, a wonderful way to spend a snowy late-April afternoon.

The Bayfield Historical Society & Archives
20 Main Street
Bayfield, ON  N0M 1G0
www.bayfieldhistorical.ca

An 1865 Gormully & Jeffery Company Rambler from the Carl Burgwart Collection, owned by Rick Wolfe of Primative Cycles, Komoka.

An 1865 Gormully & Jeffery Company Rambler from the Carl Burgwart Collection, owned by Rick Wolfe of Primative Cycles, Komoka.

James Axtmann of Walton shares his personal collection of antique carpenter tools.

James Axtmann of Walton shares his personal collection of antique carpenter tools.

Mohawk Corn Husk Doll - made by a Six Nations native.  Notice there are no facial features - can be anyone you want it to be when playing.

Mohawk Corn Husk Doll – made by a Six Nations native. Notice there are no facial features – can be anyone you want it to be when playing.

The Schneiders of Auburn showed a collection of antique tools - some of which were rather brutal looking (especially the poultry killer).

The Schneiders of Auburn showed a collection of antique tools – some of which were rather brutal looking (especially the poultry killer).

Toasters of all shapes and sizes.

Toasters of all shapes and sizes.

all types of lights displayed by the Heritage Barn Museum of Kirkton.

all types of lights displayed by the Heritage Barn Museum of Kirkton.

Carla Elliott Fisher, of Clinton, has a unique toy collection that brought back many fond memories for me. Remember these?

Prized Quilts, Heirloom Needlework Exhibit and more …

11 Apr
HeritageQuilt

“Crown of Thorns” quilt from the 1940′s. The pattern symbolizes the cross with the crown of thorns from the crucifixion. Jane Egan, owner of Galt House Antiques in Goderich, said she purchased the quilt as the colours attracted her. “Yellow, orange, and red don’t usually work together, but in this quilt they do because of it’s graphic appeal and unusual pattern” says Jane.

by Diva Trista Russell

The Heritage Quilt Exhibit in support of the Bach Music Festival of Canada is returning this year! Starting this Thursday, April 11thuntil Saturday, April 13th, quilts will be on display at the Trivitt Memorial Anglican Church at 264 Main Street in Exeter. This year features the collection of Jane Egan, owner of Galt House Antiques in Goderich, with fifteen of Ms. Egan’s prized quilts on display along with hundreds of examples of early stitching work from private collectors. Besides the collection of Ms. Egan, the Heritage Quilt Exhibit will also showcase heirloom needlework with hooked rugs and christening dresses. An avid collector, Margot Kearney from London will display some of her selected favourites. A tea room, merchant mall and quilt appraisals will be available throughout the three days. The tea room offers homemade pies, cookies, and muffins as well as chili, soup, salads, and sandwiches. Stop in for lunch and get a reasonably-priced Bach Lunch Combo special! Admission is $6.00. Funds raised support the Bach Music Festival of Canada being held in Exeter on July 14-20, 2013.

Exhibit hours:

10am to 7pm - Thursday, April 11th & Friday, April 12th

and

10am to 5pm - Saturday April 13th

I will be checking out the Quilt Exhibit later this week. Watch for a blog post about my visit!

Photo source: Bach Music Festival of Canada

Gardening Pro Comes to Exeter

10 Apr
IMG-20130408-00102 by Diva Trista Russell
Charlie Dobbin, an internationally known horticulturist and landscape designer from the Toronto area, was in Exeter this week to speak about container gardening. Charlie previously cohosted “One Garden, Two Looks” on HGTV and is the Horticultural Director for the popular Canada Blooms show held every March in Toronto. The presentation was hosted by South Huron Communities in Bloom, who are challenging residents to decorate their gardens with wheelbarrows filled with various flowers and plants. Last year, South Huron reached its goal of a 5 bloom rating in the Communities in Bloom competition!
I am definitely not a gardening pro, so I did learn some basic container gardening basics about soil, fertilizer, and drainage. There was a great turnout, as 83 people attended the event.  During the presentation, Charlie actually planted an old wheelbarrow with flowers right in front of us! During this time she shared her design tips and answered questions from the audience. Spring is on its way!
IMG-20130408-00104

Souper Saturday a Hit in Seaforth

9 Apr
Sally's Closet serves up Sweet Potato & Lime

Sally’s Closet serves up Sweet Potato & Lime

by Diva Karen,

On Saturday volunteers in Seaforth hosted SoupsOn – a fun event to raises funds, collect non-perishable foods and raise profile of the needs of the Seaforth and District Food Bank.  Twenty-eight contestants prepared and served samples of their soups to an appreciative crowd gathered at the Community Centre.

For $7 you got 7 tickets that bought 7 samples.    The soups were quite palatable, offering a variety of clear and creamed, spicy, hearty and all-around deliciously flavourful samples.  I tried the Pierogi Soup presented by Mark Stackhouse of Britannia Lodge – a thick chowder with cheesy chunks of dumplings — Um um, tasty.  Sally’s Closet served a Sweet Potato and Lime Soup which had a wonderful consistency and delightfully golden colour.  The lime offered a unique taste.  A Jamaican Jump-Up Soup prepared by The Black Dog was deliciously spicy and a Black Bean with Lime Salsa from The New Queens Inn in Seaforth was served with a dab of sour cream that offered a nice coolness to the spiciness of the soup.  I also tried a Creamy Potato and a Potato Jalapeno Cheddar Soup served by Jack McLachlan and Mystery Soup Makers, respectively.  Both were substantial and satisfying.  Last, and my nomination for the People Choice Award, was the Rutabaga and Maple served by Freedom Syrup.  Sweet and Yummy!

Colleen Elliott & Brenda Wheeler of Freedom Syrup serve Rutabaga and Maple -

Colleen Elliott & Brenda Wheeler of Freedom Syrup serve Rutabaga and Maple -

A pie and cake auction served up delicious desserts for the charity too.  Carrot cakes, pecan and apple-caramel pies, tarts, and other sweets made of local bakers were awarded to the highest bidders.  MP Ben Lobb was the guest auctioneer who got the auction going by engaging the crowd to bring a nice price for some the home-baked goodies.

This was a wonderful event that was well supported by the community and a corps of hard-working volunteers and great soup-makers.   Congratulations to all.

MP Ben Lobb engages the audience in a lively auction for delicious baked goods

MP Ben Lobb engages the audience in a lively auction for delicious baked goods

a great crowd gathered in Seaforth for this annual event.

a great crowd gathered in Seaforth for this annual event.

Black Bean & Salsa with a dab of Sour Cream!

Black Bean & Salsa with a dab of Sour Cream!

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