by Diva Gwen Let me be clear; I love theatre, I love local talent, I love supporting grassroots initiatives, but more than that; I love being outside & moving! (as in not sitting, not as in packing boxes and saying goodbyes). So attending Follow the Light on Friday May 30th was golden in every way, including the warm evening sunshine. 14/19 Inc. presented a creative way to showcase local talent, and to broaden our perspective about what “art” truly is. Set along a lovely trail in Blyth, groups were guided on a walk that rambled over hills, fields and streams, with frequent stops along the way. We enjoyed theatrical performances and wonderful musical offerings as would be expected, but the organizers also had the wisdom to include weavers, painters, kayak, canoe and furniture builders, and even a fly fisherman. It was such a pleasant evening to be active and outdoors, and to be reminded that art is everywhere if we choose to see it, and that changing a venue can let us see the familiar in a fresh way. 14/19 Inc. is a promising and energetic initiative that will support the renovation of the Blyth Memorial Community Hall – home of the Blyth Festival – and will develop and revitalize the charming and artistic community of Blyth through arts and culture. They have more great ideas ready to roll out, so be sure to follow them on twitter or mark them as a favourite website. Blyth Arts & Cultural Initiative 14/19 Inc 197 Dinsley Street Blyth, Ontario N0M 1H0 email: email@example.com
by Diva Trista Russell
This past Sunday was the annual Ciderfest in Egmondville. Held the last Sunday of September, Ciderfest is located on the grounds of the Van Egmond House at the corner of Kippen Road and Bayfield Road).
While there was a bit of rain during the afternoon, it didn’t stop people from coming out and touring the vendors market, rope making, rug braiding, and heritage demonstrations. I enjoyed some hot apple cider that was warmed in an old-fashioned cauldron. I also treated myself to some freshly-made warm apple fritters (3 for $1). The apple fritters at Ciderfest are thinly sliced apple rings coated in batter and deep-fried crispy brown. Yum! There was also hamburgers, hot dogs, and drinks for sale.
I toured the Van Egmond House while I was there, which is one of the oldest homes in Huron County! During Ciderfest they also allow visitors to tour the manor for free. The house was built in 1846 by the son of Colonel Van Egmond, a leader of rebel military forces in the 1837 Rebellion.
Outside the House they had a mini straw baling demonstration, which was neat to watch. There was also lots of homemade baking, apples, and cider for sale.
Ciderfest is held the last Sunday of September, from 10am to 4pm, at 80 Kippen Road. Admission by donation.
by Diva Trista Russell
I have to admit that when I heard about this event, I had no idea who Audrey was. But after attending Audrey’s Feast, it appears that Audrey was wonderful inspiration to our community, and especially the Farmers’ Market in my hometown of Exeter. Unfortunately, she recently passed away, but it was evident from the kind words spoken throughout the night that her inspiration still lives on.
Audrey’s Feast was a long-table style dinner that was held in a tent right beside Main Street in Exeter. Audrey’s Feast was inspired by Audrey McFalls, who saw similar events celebrating local food held in neighbouring regions and wanted to bring it to Exeter. The proceeds from the Feast went to the Huron County Food Bank Distribution Centre and the Exeter Farmers’ Market. The servers throughout the night were all vendors from the Farmers’ Market. Dinner was catered by Devin Tabor of Bon Vivant Personal Chef Service, and live music by Devon Martene and Jon Gill.
The delicious dinner started off with an amuse-bouche (bite size appetizer) of smoked Lake Huron fish, mixed greens with roasted beets, and roasted sweet potato soup. For the main course, there was roast beef with gravy and horseradish cream sauce, and honey dijon roast chicken. This was accompanied with a medley of veggies, smashed potato with roasted garlic, and fresh rolls with seasoned butter. The dessert was an an apple crumble with fresh raspberries, chantilly cream and mint. Yum!
The dinner featured items from Barrking Hill Farm, Bayfield Berry Farm, Cedar Villa Angus Farms, Firmly Rooted Farm, Good Luck Gardens, McClymont Century Orchard, Sheldon Berries, The Home Farm, and Cudmore Farm.
Guest speaker for the evening was Andrew Fleet, who is Director of Growing Chefs! Ontario, a non-profit organization based in London that unites chefs, growers, educators and community members to help get kids excited about how to grow and prepare healthy food. One of the programs Growing Chefs! Ontario offers is called “Fresh Food Frenzy” which takes school kids to a local farmers’ market and then prepare a meal using market ingredients.
He also spoke about how we need to change how the way we look at food, as often we look at eating as an inconvenience in our busy day. He said that Europeans, especially Italians, have it right: they look at food and eating as a priority, and fit the other things in life around food.
I hope this event happens again next year!
by Diva Nicole Olson
On Tuesday this week, I had a lovely evening out at the Blyth Festival theatre. I went to see Prairie Nurse, by Marie Beath Badian and directed by Sue Miner. As described by the playwright, it was a “fictional play based on real-life folks.” It was set in 1969 in a small town hospital in Saskatchewan, where two nurses from the Philippines came to work. The lab technician falls in love with one of them, but can’t tell them apart and thus, comedy ensues.
The show has a tough-as-nails head nurse, a hunting and fishing crazed doctor, a sweet but meddling candy striper, a caring and fatherly custodian, hockey star goalie/goofy lab technician, along with the two sweet, but home sick Filipino nurses. Combine all of these quirky characters and you get an enjoyable show full of laughs. I definitely enjoyed the fun, light hearted nature of the performance. They found ways to incorporate common stereotypes and make it tastefully funny.
There was hardly a spare seat in the theatre, and lots of chuckles could be heard from the audience! To see this show, or other fantastic productions at the Blyth Festival Theatre, check out their website http://www.blythfestival.com/ or call the Box Office.
by Diva Karen Stewart
Clinton & Central Huron BIA has a trial Summer Market operating Wednesdays until September 4 from 8am to 2pm at the Library Park. “Originally planned to close on August 14th, the market was extended a couple of weeks as this season’s unique weather sees produce maturing later than is typical here,” says Co-ordinator Sandy Garnet. “Downtown businesses report increased traffic and there’s a strong desire from our merchants to expand the season in 2014.”
There are vendors who sell fresh meats, fresh baked goods (including gluten free), cheese, maple syrup and honey, farm fresh eggs, as well as home made crafts and one of a kind items. The main feature, however, is the farmers and their fresh picked fruits and vegetables. Averaging ten vendors each week, the market can easily accommodate up to 20 and hopes to encourage more vendors from Central Huron.
Check out some of the local flavour featured at the Farmers’ Market. And, if you’re gluten free check out the Almond White Chocolate Coconut Squares from Humble Roots Bakery – I can vouch for them … they are quite tasty.
The Market is located 27 Albert Street, Clinton, Ontario N0M 1L0
Wednesday 8am – 2pm, until September 4th
By Diva Trista Russell
I think this one of the coolest (and relatively unknown) summer events in Huron County! “Behind the Bars” is an interactive tour of the Huron Historic Gaol in Goderich. On Tuesday and Thursday evenings from July to August, you can explore the gaol and interact with volunteers who step into the role of late-1800s prisoners. I have to confess that I’m not much of a museum fanatic, but I really enjoyed this as it was interactive and entertaining!
The Huron Historic Gaol served as the County Jail from 1842 to 1972 and now is a designated National Historic Site. One thing I didn’t realize before is that the building housed the County Courts and Council Chambers on the top floor. The gaol also held prisoners not only from Huron County, but also from neighbouring Perth and Bruce Counties as well.
Upon entering the gaol, there is an opportunity to sign the guestbook and state your “crime”. After paying the $10 admission fee, I was greeted by a museum attendant who explained some of the faces of the gaol I might meet. There are three floors to explore, as well as the Governor’s House. The cell blocks, kitchen, laundry room, Gaoler’s apartment, surgeon room, courtroom, and holding rooms/cells are all open for viewing. In almost every room there were opportunities to meet and question those who were representing the men, women and children who lived and worked behind the bars. There were also little excerpts on the walls that detailed the background of some of the prisoners. I quickly learned that some prisoners committed serious crimes, and other some very minor offences. I got to meet a young boy, around 13 years old, who was incarcerated for not having a job!
Each one of the prisoners did a wonderful job of representing and staying in character. I had a nice chat with the Governor’s daughter about life in the 1800s, and when I explained why I was visiting, she was was quite perplexed about what a “blog” was. Imagine explaining technology to someone growing up in the early 1900s!
What is truly amazing is that everything in the building is original to that time period and still works. One of the tour guides in the Governor’s House told me that the radiator in the bedroom still works to this day exactly as it did over 100 years ago!
As an extra treat, refreshments were served outside on the court yard. It’s recommended that you allow at least 45 minutes for the tour. I easily spent over an hour exploring the building.
I had never been to the Historic Gaol before so this was a first-time experience for me. The chance to interact with these characters definitely makes this a truly unique attraction, and in my opinion is a great way to spend a summer evening learning about history. Plus, how often can you tell people that you went to jail for a night?
Behind the Bars Gaol Tours
Tuesday & Thursday evenings until August 29, 2013, 7 PM to 9 PM (last entry 8:30PM)
Admission: Adults: $10, Children: $5; Families: $25; Ages 5 & under: Free; Members: FreeLocation: Huron Historic Gaol, 181 Victoria St. North, Goderich
by Diva Trista Russell
The Bach Music Festival of Canada held great concerts all last week in Exeter. It featured a classical music concert each night, as well as free noon-hour concerts. I went to the Tuesday night concert where “Capella Intima” performed and presented their programme “Celestial Sirens: Music of the Benedictine Nuns of Milan”. The evening featured sopranos Emily Klassen and Erin Bardua, alto Jennifer Enns Modolo, tenor Bud Roach, and portative organist Erika Reiman.
The concert featured vocal chamber music of the 17th century and included readings that detailed the controversial music during this time period. The Benedictine nuns were a major source of music in Italy in the 17th century as forty percent of young girls were sent into convents in the country. The nuns attracted many fans to their music and the church leaders struggled with their fame and the necessity of living a reclusive life. This type of music has only come to light in recent years, as more people are gaining interest in historically informed performances.
It was definitely a unique opportunity to hear this rarely heard music. I can tell you that these four singers are very talented and it was amazing to hear how they can reach such high notes and create beautiful harmonies. One of my favourite pieces of the night was “Regina Caeli” which starts out with two singers singing in echo but then join together to change into a harmony.
All of this years concerts are over, but the Bach Festival of Canada will be “bach” in July 2014!