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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.


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

For more information on her cookbook,



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!

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The Exeter Rodeo is an annual circuit rodeo event (    Watch for 2015 dates at or LIKE them on Facebook for regular updates.

Namaste, Ladies!

27 Jun
Jennifer Reaburn

Jenn starting off the session.

by Diva Calista Powell This past month Bayfield hosted their annual Girl’s Getaway Weekend and I was lucky enough to participate in a yoga session with a beautiful backdrop of Lake Huron. Hosted by Kirsten Harrett, owner of Deer Park Lodge, the ladies and I headed on down to the beach and the weather could not have been better. We were taught by Jennifer Reaburn, yogi extraordinaire and she lead us through some relaxing sun salutations and a guided meditation. Although this was the only event I was able to participate in during this weekend, from what I heard the cocktail party was a blast and everyone seemed to really be enjoying themselves. What a great way to kick back and have some much needed girl time. I don’t know about the rest of you out there but I will most definitely keep my eyes peeled for next year’s Bayfield Getaway!

To check out the beautiful accommodations that Deer Park Lodge has to offer visit their website at:
Hands to heart

Hands to heart centre and ‘omm’ everybody!

Girl’s Getaway

Hanging out with the ladies who participated in the Girl’s Getaway Weekend.

Bayfield Girls Getaway


Be a Tourist in your own Backyard

18 Jun

by Diva Claire Carter
As a recent transplant, I still feel like a tourist in the town of Goderich in many ways.  Although I’ve lived here for over a year, I still spend my weekends following the crowds; attending concerts, outdoor events and visiting the beach.  Here are some of my favourite ways to relax in Goderich:

Shop the Square, and explore the Farmer’s and Flea Markets

Farmers Market on the Square, Saturday's

Farmers Market on the Square, Saturday’s

The Square in Goderich is a beautiful shopping destination.  Shops have something for everyone, including clothing, home and kitchen items, jewelry and books.  If shopping isn’t your thing, or you’re hungry from too much of it, enjoy one of the great restaurants.  Whether you are in the mood for a snack, full meal or fast-casual, you will be delighted by all of the food choices.

The Farmer’s Market takes place each Saturday from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m., starting in May and ending in October.  The Market is a fantastic place to buy locally grown items.  As a tourist, I would suggest picking up some items to be enjoyed right away, and some non-perishables to bring home.  The Flea Market takes place on Sundays during the same months, but starts at 9 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m.  In addition to many delicious food items, unique vendors selling antiques, collectables and handmade items are also at the Flea Market.

As a tourist, I would pick up a snack or meal from one of the wonderful restaurants on the Square, or vendor from the Flea or Farmer’s Market, pick up a book, and have a picnic in the Square, or at one of many beautiful local parks.  Depending on what day it is, I might find a concert or festival in one of these settings.

Gates to Harbour Park

Gates to Harbour Park

Lions’ Harbour Park

Located right before the hill to the beach on West Street, Lions’ Harbour Park is also home to many great events throughout the year.  Weekly summer events include Circle City Cruize Nights (every second Wednesday from May 21-September 10) and Sunday Concerts (June 22- August 31).  Annual events include the Festival of Arts and Crafts and Celtic Roots Festival.  The stage makes this park great for watching concerts, while the covered gazebo ensures an enjoyable atmosphere, regardless of the weather.

On Gloucester Terrace, across from the Huron Historic Gaol, there is a lovely place to sit on the swings.  This area also happens to be a scenic lookout point, as it overlooks the harbour.  There is a cairn with a giant piece of salt nearby, and plaques that tell the story of salt in Goderich.  After enjoying a bite to eat, cross the road and visit the Huron Historic Gaol, which also happens to be a National Historic Site.  If you’re lucky enough to be in Goderich on a Tuesday or Thursday night between July 10 and August 28, consider visiting in the evening (7-9 p.m.) to enjoy a special tour called Behind the Bars.

Huron County Gaol hosts "Behind the Bars" all summer long … it's a great way to learn about local history.

Huron County Gaol hosts “Behind the Bars” all summer long … it’s a great way to learn about local history.

Once you are feeling well fueled, I would suggest visiting one of the great local trails.  Two of my favourites are the Maitland Woods Trail, and the Tiger Dunlop Trail.  Both trails are cyclist, walker, runner and dog friendly.  In the winter, bring cross-country skiis or snowshoes.

The Maitland Woods Trail is located at the south end of the Knights of Columbus Centre parking lot (390 Parsons Court).  The trails are beautiful all year long, and depending on what you are in the mood for, you can choose a number of different distances.

The Menesetung Bridge is a really beautiful walk, as it features some of the best views in Goderich.  Another walk that is different each season, this one takes you across the historic wooden Menesetung Bridge that spans the Maitland River.

Sunsets are spectacular at Rotary Cove

Sunsets are spectacular at Rotary Cove

After a long, action packed day, my final move would be to head to the beach and enjoy the sunset.   Lake Huron is known for beautiful sunsets, and I happen to think the view from Rotary Cove is pretty spectacular!  If you’re visiting on a Friday (early July – late August), come an hour before sunset, get an ice cream cone, and listen to the Celtic Blue Highlanders pipe the sun down.

(Photo Credit:  Pat Carter)

The view from Menesetung Bridge - great place for a hike

The view from Menesetung Bridge – great place for a hike

Winter trails ...

Winter trails …

Maitland Trail … another great place to explore flora and fauna

Maitland Trail … another great place to explore flora and fauna






The Sun Shone and Shines on 14/19

4 Jun the crowd pauses to enjoy entertainment along the trail during "Follow the Light"
the crowd pauses to enjoy entertainment along the trail during "Follow the Light"

the crowd pauses to enjoy entertainment along the trail during “Follow the Light”

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:

Visual Artist Ron Walker chats with the children while painting the landscape

Visual Artist Ron Walker chats with the children while painting the landscape

twelve or so harpists from the Huron Strings Harp School delighted the participants …

twelve or so harpists from the Huron Strings Harp School delighted the participants …

Hot Apple Cider and Apple Fritters on a Sunday Afternoon

2 Oct
Hot apple cider and fresh apple fritters...mmmm!

Hot apple cider and fresh apple fritters…mmmm!

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.

One of the bedrooms in the Van Egmond House

One of the bedrooms in the Van Egmond House

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.

Miniature farm display at Ciderfest

Miniature farm display at Ciderfest

Ciderfest is held the last Sunday of September, from 10am to 4pm, at 80 Kippen Road. Admission by donation.

Some of the vendors lined along the grounds of the Van Egmond House

Some of the vendors lined along the grounds of the Van Egmond House

Audrey’s Feast

30 Sep

IMG_4008by 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!

IMG_4009The dinner featured items from Barrking Hill FarmBayfield Berry FarmCedar Villa Angus FarmsFirmly Rooted FarmGood Luck GardensMcClymont Century OrchardSheldon 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!


Each diner got to take home a package from Egg Farmers Ontario, including a handy microwave egg cooker.


I was one of the lucky winners who got to take home a beautiful centrepiece of fresh cut flowers from Cudmore Farms!


Some wonderful ladies from London that I met at Audrey’s Feast. Hope you enjoyed the evening!


A sample of the items you can purchase at the Exeter Farmers’ Market.


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