Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!! (Part Two

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that Judi and I visit a lot of festivals and events throughout the year. Unfortunately some of the visited festivals don’t offer “good value for money spent”.  Even though many of the festivals we visit don’t change an admission fee, that doesn’t mean they are offering good value. I’m not just talking about the cost of admission. I’m talking about the other costs, gas to get there, parking, food, products, midway, etc. We, as festival and event consumers, should expect and demand “good value”! Most festivals and events are organized and run by hard working, well intentioned volunteers. They want to do their best, but they are not professionals! Most groups do what they have always done! It’s easier that way! We need to make festival managers, volunteers or not, more accountable for what they are offering and how they inform and train their volunteers. We can do this by giving festival and event organizers constructive feedback. Most festivals and events have contact information on their websites. If they don’t, that’s a great place for them to start improving! If, after giving an event your feedback and you still feel negatively, you have the final “hammer”. Just don’t go back to the event plus you can tell your friends and family about your negative experiences. If enough people boycott the event, its organizers will soon get the picture!  The economy is going through a “readjustment” period now and all businesses (profit and non-profit) should re-evaluate their operation. Those that don’t, likely won’t last. It’s up to us, the “festival consumer”, to join the “fight” and “help” organizers go in the “right’ direction After all, we deserve “good value for hard earned money spent”!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!! (Part One)

I’ve been thinking a lot, lately, about “value for money spent”. This is especially true for the cost of gas! Why are gas prices so high and why, as consumers, are we accepting it? When you go to a “service station” there, usually, is no service! We pump our own gas, check our own oil and fill our windshield wiper fluid. So all we are paying for is the gas and the equipment that dispenses the gas. I guess we have now all accepted this as the “norm”. It now seems to be creeping into all aspects of our lives. When you go into many Supermarkets and Big Box store you almost have to beg for service! Their justification seems to be lower prices. The pendulum went from perhaps too much service to very little. With the economy on the downturn, the pendulum seems to be swinging back. So, after this “longwinded” introduction, here is my point. If we, as consumers, ban together, we can make a difference and we can cause change. We can start a mini revolution and start demanding better service, competitive prices and better products. Let’s face it, we control the purse strings. We decide where and when we are going to spend our hard earned money! It’s time to fight back, so “let’s get ready to rumble”!

(More “Rumble” in Part Two)



Friday, October 6, 2017

It’s The Little Things…

In Elmvale, our first “Nomad Festival”, at their annual Maple Syrup Festival, it was the taste of local real maple syrup!
While traveling with my Grandson to the Antique and Classic Boat Show, it was stopping along the way at a trading post and being given two free containers of “Nibs” chocolate ice cream pieces.
Then there was the very interesting genealogy store located in the picturesque village of Campbellville that we discovered on our way to the Waterloo County Quilt Festival.
In Perth, at the Festival of Maples, there was the wonderful Matheson House Museum located on Perth’s main downtown street.
One Fall during our Colours ‘n Crows (unfortunately no longer running) tour in Buckhorn, we marveled at the fall colours and the views across Pigeon Lake.
Colborne’s Apple Blossom Tyme Festival produced a special treasure for Judi at their Library book sale. Judi found a book she had been searching and paid only $2.00!
The jousting contest the Gregor’s Crossing Medieval Faire (again, unfortunately no longer running) took my breath away when the two Knights faced each other with lowered lances.

During our trips we saw amazing farms, beautiful scenes, interesting architecture and quaint rural towns and villages! All wonderful memories! Being a “Festival Nomad” certainly has its advantages!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

A Sense of Community…

One of the great things about being a “Festival Nomad” is being able to visit unique rural communities! Over the years, we have had the privilege of visiting a 100’s of such communities. Our first festival took us to Elmvale. This is a small town located northwest of Barrie. They host a wonderful Maple Syrup Festival each spring and attract thousands of people to it! Colborne was our next rural experience. Colborne, located just east of Cobourg, is the home of the Old Tyme Apple Blossom Festival. Judi was able to find a few “treasured” books in the book sale that was held in their town park! Other great rural communities followed, Frankford (located on the Trent-Severn Waterway), Gravenhurst (in the heart of Muskoka), Warkworth (where we discover that Cowboys and Cowgirls do exist in Ontario!), Smith’s Falls (where chocolate filled the air), Buckhorn many times!), Wellington (a great retirement community), Bala (where the street on a fall weekend are lined with Cranberry products) and Waterford (where the pumpkins glow in the dark and people’s homes are decorated to match the theme of their festival).
There were, of course, more, many more, but I think you understand what I am trying to convey. While big cities may be the engine of our economy, rural communities and their residents are the “heart and soul” of our province. They represent what most of us would like to achieve in life, “peace, quiet and a sense of community”!

My own town, Thornbury, gives Judi and I this sense of well-being. I hope you find or have found your own “heart and soul”!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

If You Can’t Trust The Weatherman… (Part Two)

At approximately 8:25 PM the rain had stopped and organizers were starting to set up the battle area. At 8:45 PM, the battle had begun! People had flocked to the beach to see the battle. We stayed to then of the re-enactment then started on our trip home. Was it worth the time and wait, you bet it was, but no thanks to the weatherman!
The next day we went to the Canadian Aviation Expo in Oshawa (Note: it was moved to Waterloo, but I think it’s now been cancelled permanently). This event included an air show that was scheduled to start at 3:00 PM. It was like “déjà vu” all over again! The weather was sunny and warm (just like the weatherman said)! At 3:00 PM the announcer told us that the show was good to go. There was a little dark cloud off to the west, no problem! The air show started. Two of the scheduled participant completed their flybys. Then the announcer came back on the PA to tell us that the show had been suspended for one hour and that we should all take cover in the buildings (déjà vu). Once again we debated and waited. Finally, at a little after 4:00 PM, the air show started again. The first performance went off without a hitch. The second performers, 4 Harvards, took off to darkening skis. They just finished landing when the announcer once again came on the PA system and declared that the remainder of the air show was cancelled! We had just enough time to reach our car before the heavens open and the heavy rains came!

Did the weatherman really mess up this weekend or was it the “Weather Gods” just having a little “fun” at our expense?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

If You Can’t Trust The Weatherman… (Part One)

If you can’t trust the weatherman, who can you trust?

We visited two different events. One was in the south western part of Ontario, Port Dover and the other was in Central Ontario, Oshawa. The first festival we visited was the Marine Heritage Festival (retired) in Port Dover. The drove three hours to attend! The festival included a marine/military re-enactment on the shores of Lake Erie. This was the main event we wanted to see. Acquaintances had told us that last year’s re-enactment was exceptional, so we were really looking forward to this year’s event! The battle re-enactment was scheduled for twilight (8:30 PM). The whole day was mainly sunny and how (as forecasted). About 7:00 PM we walked to the beach with our lawn chairs to settle in and wait for the battle. We set up our chairs on the beach. The sun was still shinning and the lake was quite calm. About 7:30 PM event organizers came onto the beach and staked out the battle area. We moved our chairs back behind the “Caution Tape”. We had just settled into our chairs when we noticed a dark cloud across the lake! Then there was thunder and lightning! Then the winds started and the temperature dropped! Waves started to roll in and the wind began to blow harder! Finally the dark cloud was over us and the rain started! Someone shouted that everyone should take cover! We ran for our car and made it just in time before the heavy rains started! The time was now about 7:45 PM. We sat in the car debating whether or not the battle re-enactment would take place and should we start now on our long drive home. I felt that it was worth waiting as we had driven so far just to see the main battle, so we waited! 

(To be Continued…)

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Back to the Future…

Over the years, we have been able to visit a number of Pioneer Villages and Re-enactments. In doing so, Judi and I have not only had an enjoyable time, but we have learned a lot of about the history of Canada and its pioneers.
Our first encounter with the past was at the “Battle of Stoney Creek”. This was a re-enactment of the 1813 battle that took place in Stoney Creek between the British and the Americans. At the re-enactment we saw the British encampment, browsed the merchant tents and witnessed a “mock” battle. Along the way we learned about Canadian and United States relationships and our respective histories.
Our next journey back in time was to the Black Creek Pioneer Village. As we wandered through the Village we were able to investigate the fascinating historical buildings and watch as Village interpreters told or showed us who our forefathers lived and survived.
These were followed by visits the Queen’s Park to see democracy at work in the Ontario Legislative Assembly. Then it was Lang Pioneer Village for their Christmas by Candlelight. In Perth we visited the elegant Matheson House. Here we could catch a glimpse of the life and times of an 1840’s family.
A while ago we traveled to Keswick to the Georgina Pioneer Village. They were featuring a re-enactment of the Rise to Rebellion. This is where William Lyon MacKenzie in 1837 tried to incite Canadians to throw off British rule.
We visited Chatham one year and witnessed the Gregor’s Crossing Medieval Faire (no longer run). Knights competed against one another for the favour of a fair maiden.
And then there were a Naval and Military encampment and battle in Port Dover and a military re-enactment at Upper Canada Village in Morrisburg?

The past is definitely our future! (See Ontario Heritage Visited at www.ontariofestivalsvisited.ca for articles about our Heritage Adventures.)