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Abra-KID-abra a magical way to end March Break

23 Mar

magicwithkids

By Diva Caroline Thuss

Looking for entertainment that is good for both kids and adults alike? Abra-KID-abra pulls an excellent magic show out of a hat that left both my daughter and me in stiches. As soon as we entered the Blyth Memorial Community Hall the comical mood was set with the music playing as we waited for the show to start. The theatre was full of kids of all ages, parents and grandparents who were all eager for the show to start. Once Peter Mennie took the stage you knew that it would be a performance that would leave adults and kids in awe of his magic and in stitches from all the comedy that he effortlessly dishes out.

Diva Caroline Thuss and her daughter were in stitches during the show.

Diva Caroline Thuss and her daughter were in stitches during the show.

His magic and illusions allowed a multitude of kids to become part of the show as his “assistants” and he played off of their reactions, which if you have kids you know they can say some pretty funny things. Many of the kids around us wanted to get on stage and he made sure he involved as many as he could. My daughter often whispered to me “Mom, he is soooo funny!” and “WOW…how did he do that?” I have to admit that I also wondered the same thing.

After the show, they had kid-friendly magic wands for sale at a very reasonable price of $3, which included a booklet of magic tricks to do at home. I bought five of them to give to my other children and my nephew and niece the next time I see them.

It was a pirate-themed week over at Queen's Bakery, with treasure chest treats - Rice Krispies squares with chocolate gold coins

It was a pirate-themed week over at Queen’s Bakery, with treasure chest treats – Rice Krispies squares with chocolate gold coins

After the show, we headed across the street to the Queen’s Bakery to enjoy a coffee. They were having a pirate-themed week, which added to more fun. My daughter enjoyed a treasure chest (Rice Krispies squares with chocolate gold coins) and a Davey Jones root beer while I enjoyed a wonderful blueberry scone and a latté. What a great way to end a fun afternoon outing in Blyth!

To find out more about attractions in Huron County, visit online.

 


 

WHERE WAS THIS?

Blyth Memorial Community Hall is a 444-seat theatre owned by the Municipality of North Huron. It is home to the Blyth Centre for the Arts, which includes the Blyth Festival, a professional summer theatre that produces new Canadian plays. Check its 2015 season here.

423 Queen St., Blyth. Phone: 519-523-9300 Toll free: 1-877-862-5984

Queen’s Bakery is a coffee shop and bakery located in a former apothecary on the main street of Blyth. Lunch served.

430 Queen St., Blyth. Phone: 226-523-9720

Kruger Brothers: Like being at a kitchen party

13 Mar
The Kruger Brothers concert at The Livery in Goderich was presented by the Celtic Roots Festival.

The Kruger Brothers concert at The Livery was presented by the Goderich Celtic Roots Festival.

By Diva Claire Carter

GODERICH – I am always amazed by the quality of entertainment in Huron County.  I had the pleasure of attending a Kruger Brothers concert at the Livery in Goderich on Wednesday night.  This event was presented by the Goderich Celtic Roots Festival, a group that has a history of bringing fantastic talent to the area every August.

I brought my dad along, as we have a tradition of attending the Celtic Festival together.  This was the third time we’d heard the Kruger Brothers preform. The group, born in Europe and now based in North Carolina, has a very loyal following.  The group’s sound is described as bluegrass-acoustic-roots.  Their sounds make me feel like I’m at a kitchen party on the east coast or in Ireland.

Jens Kruger was recently awarded with the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo, and it is easy

The Livery, Goderich.

The Livery, Goderich.

to understand why.  The show featured both instrumental songs (many from Appalachan Concerto) and vocals.  There was a good mix of original and cover music.   It seemed the group really knew the audience, as I heard many times at intermission and after the show that they’d played someone’s favourite song.  The song I liked the best was Carolina in the Fall.  The band interacted with the audience after the show, autographing CDs and talking about their love of Huron County.

The Kruger Brothers won’t be attending the Goderich Celtic Roots Festival this year.  The band flies to Switzerland next week, and will be performing and delivering workshops throughout Europe and the United States for the next few months.  The festival attracts different performers each year from around the world.  The lineup for this year has just been released, and it is fantastic!  The full lineup can be found here.

I’m most excited to see the Great Lakes Swimmers and Dave Gunning.  As usual, there is a great balance of North American and European musicians.  There are four different stages, and a fantastic food area.  I’m really looking forward to discovering new music while enjoying a delicious ice cream cone in Lions Harbour Park.  After things wind down on stage, I’d suggest heading to the Park House, where the live entertainment continues.

Tickets can be purchased for the full three days of the festival ($70 for adults, $65 for seniors), or for single days ($25-$35 for adults, $20-$30 for seniors).  Concerts begin at 11 a.m., and end at midnight on Friday and Saturday, and at 10:30 p.m. on Sunday.

For more information on the 2015 Celtic Roots Festival, visit online, or call (519) 524-8221.

Lunchtime organ concert runs Fridays through Lent

21 Feb 20150220organ2trivitt

metoo
By Diva Heather Boa

EXETER – Close your eyes and you can hear the organist tease resonating notes from cool air on the finicky pipe organ or feel the sound vibrate through your seat and into your bones from the digital organ during a lunchtime concert in the sanctuary of Trivitt Memorial Anglican Church in Exeter.

Open your eyes and let the hymns by great composers such as Brahms, Handel and Bach become background music

Dr. Richard Heinzle, organist and music director of Trivitt Memorial Anglican Church, hosts a lunchtime concert every Friday through Lent.

Dr. Richard Heinzle, organist and music director of Trivitt Memorial Anglican Church, hosts a lunchtime concert every Friday through Lent.

to the sights in this magnificent church, built in 1888 and funded by Thomas Trivitt, Justice of the Peace in Huron County – the sun shining through stained glass scenes from the bible, Neo-Gothic architecture of tall narrow windows with pointed arches at the top and arched ceilings accentuated by wooden beams, the majestic bells that represent a full octave, which have temporarily been removed from the five-storey bell tower and line the church aisle.

It’s your choice how to best appreciate 40 minutes of organ music in the church sanctuary.

Every Friday until the end of Lent (the end of March), Trivitt’s organist and music director Dr. Richard Heinzle will present a lunchtime concert, inviting any and all to take a seat in pews usually reserved for the choir and enjoy their own brown bag lunch while he plays the pipe organ and the digital organ. (Just a note based on my own experience: A crunchy apple is probably not the best choice for lunch.)

Since early 2014, Richard has been music director and organist at Trivitt Memorial Anglican Church in Exeter and music director of the South Huron Community Choirs, part of outreach efforts by the church. He is also a board member of the Bach Music Festival of Canada, which will take place in Exeter this summer.

Richard introduces each hymn, telling us, for example, before he plays Bach’s Jesus, My Joy that most works were playbillimprovisational but the composer put together this piece in order to teach students how to improvise and to explore the different ways pieces could be put together.

There are just two visitors to this first concert, but Richard was undaunted and hopes word will spread and more cushions will be filled in the coming weeks.

He also wants people to know about the upcoming Hymn Sing Marathon planned for Saturday, Feb. 28 at the church. People are invited to drop anytime from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. to make a cash or food donation to the Exeter and Area Community Food Bank and sing along as he plays through one verse of each song in the hymn book. He says many of the hymns in the Anglican hymn book are the same as in other hymn books, so you’ll be able to sing some familiar hymns as well as some new ones.

For more information on Trivitt Memorial Anglican Church, visit this website.


 

2015022020organ4trivittLunchtime Organ Concert: If you go

What: Organ Concert At Lunch, a brown bag concert series

When: Every Friday through Lent, until March 27, starting at 12:15 p.m. and ending at 12:55 p.m.

Where: Trivitt Memorial Anglican Church’s sanctuary, 264 Main St. S., Exeter

How much: Goodwill offering. Suggested $5

What else: Dress warmly

 


 

 

Don’t hibernate. Celebrate at Goderich’s Winterfest

4 Feb
Winterfest draws people of all ages to a variety of activities.

Winterfest draws people of all ages to a variety of activities.

By Diva Heather Boa

GODERICH – This weekend, the community of Goderich is hosting a wintery pick-you-up to help you and your family push through the winter blahs.

Winterfest has grown and evolved from its humble beginnings more than two decades ago into an event that’s anchored by some key activities with a bit of something new every year. Every visitor to town becomes an honorary Goderichite during Winterfest, whether they’re walking the lantern-lit trails and warming up with a mug of hot chocolate afterwards, sampling the chili in a cook-off of secret recipes, watching nighttime fireworks light up the sky, or taking part in any number of activities lined up for the three-day event, Feb. 6 to 8.

I can remember that first Winterfest more than two decades ago. It was a big financial gamble for a group of very keen organizers, who booked a high-energy rock and roll band to play at the Knights of Columbus Centre as the feature event. If it stormed that evening, we were bound to take a loss on the event. However, it didn’t storm enough to keep people home that night and tickets were sold out in a snap. People came dressed in ‘60s costumes and danced and danced and danced that evening. And there was enough money to keep the event going in future years and draw a loyal following.

One of my favourite events over the years is the Saturday chili cook-off, with folks wandering the downtown Square trying to juggle Styrofoam bowls, a bun and steaming beverages while bundled up against some blustery weather. Tomato sauce and ground beef slopped onto mitts and napkins blew away in the wind. It’s a wonder we ever got our ballots cast for the best chili. That challenge continued through the years, probably weighed against the festive spirit that comes with meeting friends and neighbours on busy, chilly sidewalks. This year, however, the Rotary club is trying a new location, with chili competitors lining the indoor streetscape of the Maitland Recreation Centre. Some of the braver competitors, clinging to tradition, will set up outside the centre’s front doors.

File photo.

File photo.

One of the newer events is the Saturday evening fireworks show by PyroWorld in the town’s agricultural park. The spectacular show is set to music, with the low-level fireworks reflecting on the snow, which makes for great photographs. Anyone who isn’t interested in braving the outdoors for hot chocolate at 6:30 p.m. and fireworks at 7 p.m. can catch the musical presentation on 104.9 The Beach, starting at 7 p.m.

“There are a variety of indoor and outdoor activities through the weekend,” said Wanda Keith, who is the town’s festival and special events co-ordinator.

“The variety of things happening is phenomenal. And it’s all local organizations putting these events on,” she said.

Another event that’s new this year will be the Goderich Makers Market on Saturday morning. It’s just like a visit to the farmers market, only it’s wintertime and it’s indoors, with produce, local meat, baked goods, soups, crafts and soaps. In addition, the local horticultural society will bring the promise of spring by hosting a seed swap, with seeds available to swap or purchase by donation.

For a full list of events, click here. One additional event didn’t make it to the poster, which is the free skate from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday at Victoria Park’s outdoor rink, as long as the weather’s cold enough to keep the ice frozen. Hot chocolate and cookies provided by Zehrs.

Ladies’ night success demonstrates why this diva loves Huron County

21 Jan
Hypnotist Comedian Hank Stone found a number of volunteers to give him a hand. Photo by Rob Boyce, Your Life in Stills.

Hypnotist Comedian Hank Stone found a number of volunteers to give him a hand. Photo by Rob Boyce, Your Life in Stills.

by Diva Melody Hodgson

SEAFORTH – I have always found it interesting how quickly things can transpire once the wheels have been put into motion.

This past Saturday was the 1st Annual MILPS Gala in Seaforth, hosted by the Huron East Centenaires. What began as an informal conversation after the Men’s Steak Night last summer quickly turned into a full-on planning session for a fun- filled ladies’ night in Seaforth. The gala was to focus not only on raising funds for the newly formed Men’s Senior AA hockey team and local youth sports initiatives, but also provide a showcase for some of the local bounty that Huron County has to offer. In a few short months it went from a vague idea and discussion to a sold-out event with 200 women filling the Seaforth & District Community Centre.

The MILPS Gala (which stands for Mom’s I’d Like to Party with) is not the first ladies’ night to hit Huron County (the Clinton Kinsmen has an incredibly successful one in November!), and it is with a respect for the existing events that we began the planning process.

Agnes Kluz and Brenda Campbell capture a memory of the evening. Photo by Rob Boyce, Your Life in Stills.

Agnes Kluz and Brenda Campbell capture a memory of the evening. Photo by Rob Boyce, Your Life in Stills.

The event featured local musician Jay Allan (who blew the audience away with his acoustic talents!), catering by Walton’s own Teresa Dejong and High Creek Farm, fashion show curated by high-end consignment boutique Scarlet in Exeter and the only non-local talent, hypnotist-comedian Hank Stone.  Local partnerships were also formed with Blyth Farm Cheese and 16 Mile Cellar Winery (local businessman Paul Vandermolen of Lawnmaster is a partner), Shop Bike Coffee Roasters, Blooms ‘n’ Rooms and Your Life In Stills Photography with Rob Boyce.  On top of the entertainment, thanks to the generosity of local merchants there were over 16 door prizes ranging in value from $50 to $430, and 35 silent auction items to bid on.  The evening ended with a jam-packed dance floor, with DJ Jake Campbell (JCMBL) taking over the stage.  Throughout the evening, the Ex-Cents (a senior men’s league hockey team) formed a squad of concierges that waited on each table hand and foot, fetching drinks, serving the plated meals and laughing at all of the ladies’ clever jokes.

The tables were beautifully decorated for the event. Photo by Rob Boyce, Your Life in Stills.

The tables were beautifully decorated for the event. Photo by Rob Boyce, Your Life in Stills.

It was an incredibly fun evening, and exceeded all of our expectations when planning.  And while I may have been one of the event coordinators for the Gala, this is not meant to be a “toot my own horn” blog posting.  As an import to Seaforth and Huron County, Saturday night exemplified beyond words how much I love this town and the surrounding area.  I feel more at home here than I have in any other location (be it from the shores of lakes Erie, Ontario and Superior, to further northwest in a secluded little town called Atikokan), and it’s not just due to the fact that I have my own little family here.  It is, for the most, part due the people.  The area is full of amazing people who will help out at the drop of a hat, who are supportive and full of excitement and want nothing more than to see an idea succeed into fruition. Over time, they become an extended family that you never knew you needed, but are incredibly thankful to have.

Toronto may have its thousands of restaurants, clubs and subway system…but I know Huron County has more.  And I know for sure we are the only area to have our own MILPS Gala ;)

A model turns some heads during the fashion show. Photo by Rob Boyce, Your Life in Stills.

A model turns some heads during the fashion show. Photo by Rob Boyce, Your Life in Stills.

Upcoming Ladies’ Nights

Be You, Be Fabulous (Seaforth) – March 5, 2015

Clinton Kinsmen (Clinton) – Date TBA

2016 MILPS Gala (Seaforth) – Jan. 16, 2016

2015 MILPS Gala Event Partners

Huron East Centenaires

Your Life in Stills Photography (also on Facebook)

Jay Allan

High Creek Farm

16 Mile Cellar

Blyth Farm Cheese

Shop Bike Coffee Roasters

NJS Design, Party & Event Rentals (also on Facebook)

Scarlet

Blooms n’ Rooms

 

The women at Table 3 pose with their host server. Photo by Rob Boyce, Your Life in Stills.

The women at Table 3 pose with their host server. Photo by Rob Boyce, Your Life in Stills.

 

Nothing rounds out a great evening like a dance party. Photo by Rob Boyce, Your Life in Stills.

Nothing rounds out a great evening like a dance party. Photo by Rob Boyce, Your Life in Stills.

A Rainy Day Didn’t Stop the Midway

25 Oct Many prizes to be won!



By Diva Calista Powell

Although the Township of Howick-Turnberry is small, their community spirit was on full display at their fall fair on October 3rd. As I pulled up to join the long line of parked cars on the highway, there was quite the crowd gathering at the gates. Small children were running around excitedly, and you could just tell that they were hoping that they would be tall enough to ride the midway. I made it just in time to catch the opening ceremonies where a bagpipe procession lead the Howick-Turnberry Ambassador, Jessica Walther to the stage. After a few speeches, I joined the crowd in perusing the exhibits and saw some really amazing crafts, baked goods and interesting produce grown by locals. It was fantastic to see a large number of entries at this fair, and I liked how the entrants were from all age groups.

Many prizes to be won!



Many prizes to be won!

This was by far the largest head of lettuce I have ever seen! The exhibits brought back memories of when I used to submit my chocolate-chip cookies to the Clinton Spring Fair.

This was by far the largest head of lettuce I have ever seen! The exhibits brought back memories of when I used to submit my chocolate-chip cookies to the Clinton Spring Fair.

Unfortunately, I was not brave enough to ride the Thriller this time.

Unfortunately, I was not brave enough to ride the Thriller this time.

This fair had something for everyone, and personally I was intrigued by Dorothy Brown-Henderson’s booth where she was selling her new cookbook Loving it Local: Preparing delicious fresh local food. An Exeter resident, Dorothy was inspired by Huron Perth’s Buy Local! Buy Fresh! Map and decided to compile her recipes that were made up of ingredients from local farms. As I talked to her about the importance of supporting small farms, I could tell how passionate she was about cooking. It was wonderful to see her expertise and enthusiasm translate into recipes to be shared with everyone. After purchasing her cookbook and leaving the fair, I was already deciding as to what would be the perfect accompaniment to my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. Overall, as a first time attendee, I can say that the Howick-Turnberry fall fair was a great experience and offers fun for all ages.

Photo4

Dorothy Brown-Henderson and her new cookbook Loving it Local: Preparing delicious fresh local food.

For more information on her cookbook, email:dorothybrownhenderson@gmail.com

 

 

A Day at the Rodeo

17 Aug

by Diva Christine Harris

It was a beautiful day for a rodeo, the sun was shining and there was not a rain cloud in sight.  The afternoon was packed full of action with many different events to watch.

Pole Bending

Pole Bending

We started the day off with an event called Pole Bending.  It’s a timed competition where the ladies have to take their horses through six poles weaving them back and forth and racing back to the finish line.

Tie down roping

Tie down roping

Tie down roping is also a timed event.  The cowboy gives the calf a head start out of the box and then has to throw his loop around the calf’s neck and get the horse to pull back on the rope, he then jumps off the horse, throws the calf on its side and ties up its feet.  This was initially used to administer antibiotics on the farm before it became a sport.

Break-a-way Roping

Break-a-way Roping

Break-a-way roping is a timed ladies event where she has to throw her loop around the calf’s neck and as the rope takes up the slack it breaks away and that’s when the time stops.

Steer Wrestling

Steer Wrestling

Steer wrestling starts with the steer getting a head start leaving the gate, the cowboy then rides up on his horse to catch up and jumps off and brings the steer down, all four legs must be off the ground.  His partner called the Hazer keeps the steer from veering away.

Saddle Bronc Riding

Saddle Bronc Riding

Saddle bronc riding is a classic rodeo event.  The cowboy must stay on his bucking bronc for at least 8 seconds to qualify for a score and he may only touch the bronc with one hand on the horses halter.

Junior Steer Riding

Junior Steer Riding

The junior bull riding is for cowboys under the age of fifteen and they ride steers instead of bulls.  They must also stay on the animal for a minimum of eight seconds to receive a score.

Children's Sheep Scramble

Children’s Sheep Scramble

Just before intermission we were treated to some ladies performing daring tricks on their beautiful horses, and the little ones got to participate in a sheep scramble where they were to chase sheep to get coupons off of their backs.

Barrel Racing

Barrel Racing

Barrel racing uses three barrels and the cowgirls weave their horses around them in a clover pattern and races back to the finish line as this is also a timed event.  If they tip over a barrel they receive a five second penalty.

Team Roping

Team Roping

Team roping is similar to tie down roping, but there are two ropers.  One is designated to rope the head and the other is to rope the back feet.  If they don’t give the steer the appropriate head start they get a ten second penalty.

Bull Riding

Bull Riding

Last but certainly not least is the adult bull riding, and this is what most people come to see.  The cowboy is sat on a 2000lbs bull who wants nothing but to get this guy off of his back.  The cowboy must stay on the bull for at least eight seconds.  More points are awarded for the difficulty to stay on the bull for things like bucking, spinning and changing directions.  So it helps to have an angry bull.

It was wonderful to have such a big event so close to home and it looks like this annual event will continue for years to come.  If you didn’t make it this year, make sure to come next time!

– – –

The Exeter Rodeo is an annual circuit rodeo event (http://www.ontariorodeo.com).    Watch for 2015 dates at http://www.exeterrodeo.com or LIKE them on Facebook for regular updates.

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