From Cobourg to Brighton along the Lake Ontario Shore, apple orchards abound. And in Spring time they put on a Blossom Show that confirms Summer time is is marching right in. So Colborne ON, smack dab in the middle of this Apple corridor, puts on an Apple Blossom Tyme festival to beat the band wagon. See highlights of last years festival and Saturdays action here and then Sunday’s carshow and kids fun here.
Here are some favorites from the 4 day event starting Thursday May 24th and finishing on Sunday May 27th. Saturday is crammed with over a dozen different events, all free and scattered over 3 blocks in downtown Colborne.
Vintage Tractor, Gas Engines, Antique Farm Machinery & Tool Show
If you want to see vintage tractors and farm implements that still work mighty fine, this show has them all. Tools for sawing and lumbering, old gas engines that powered the well or help turn the pulleys and elevators; and tractors of every make and model back to the late 1930′s. And just like the cars that show on Sunday these farm wares are spiffed up and in good shape.
But a nifty add on is the Kids Tractor Pull that starts at 11:30 and often goes until 1:00PM
This little pedal tractor moves some impressive weights. See the photos from last year for testament to what some tiny tots are capable of pulling. And given the sprinkles and coolish morning, such prodigious pulls were doubly notable.
The second attraction is the Kids Spelling Bee starting at 10:00AM at the Old St. Andrews Church, on the North Side of the main fair along King St.
Now I have an abiding interest in Spelling Bees that goes beyond the coverage on TV for the big Spelling Bees in Canada and the US. Spelling Bees plus Geograpy and History quizzes were a regular part of grade school and a great motivator. But the Apple Blossom Spelling Bee offers another incentive => bigtime moolah for Primary – grades 1,2,3; Midlevel – grades 4,5,6 and Senior students -grades 7,8. It is $100 for 1st, $75 for 2nd and $50 for third – not too bad for less than hours work. And as Cramahe taxpayer I am anxious to see how well my tax dollars are being spent on primary education.
My next favorite event starts at 11.00Am and is the Owls and Birds of Prey exhibition.
This is seriously cool for kids of every age from 6 to 96. See what looks like the owl flinching – that is the ability of owls to pivot their heads at astounding speed [they have to because their eyes are set in one position so they must rotate their heads]. Owls rely on keen binocular vision and superior audio tracking to locate their prey. All this information and a lot more comes from Chris Ketola of The Centre for the Conservation of Specialized Species. Chris can not only fill you in on owls but other birds of prey like hawks, falcons, etc. Even more fascinating is the work the Centre does in preserving injured and orphaned birds of prey. Check here for more info on owls.
Well among the Saturday activities, my next favorite, the Soap Box Derby,
at 10:30AM with registration and goes til about 2:30PM at the extreme east end of the Festival at King E and Elgin. There are again three age groups: Juniors: 5-7 yaers old, Intermediates: 8-10 years old and Seniors: 11-13 years old. But no moolah this time, kids have to speed their way to victory.
You can build your own racer [Contact Marie Lachner at 905-355-2162 for details] or use one of several supplied soap box derby racers. The action is fast and furious. It is just like drag racing – short tracks and acceleration is the name of the game. So hold that Derby racer straight and steady on course.
There are half a dozen more great events on Saturday including the Hot Diggity Dog Flyball Contest, the Beautiful Baby Competition, the Holcim Quarry Visits, Facepainting in the Park and more.
Now We Get to Sunday
No doubt about it the highlight of Sunday is the 9:00AM to 3:00PM Car Shine and Show.
You would have to go to Barrie in the late Summer or Hershey PA in the Fall to get so many and varied roadsters. True Barrie and Hershey are easily 10 times the size but they lack the variety and sheer friendliness of the car buffs at Colborne.
And the variety of makes is great. I had a enthusiastic converstaion with a guy who had bought and renovated a GMC Midrange Dump truck… flashy, red and fascinating.
And there is always ample room for special mods:
But the big time photo taking opportunity is at the end of the show when all the cars parade on out – and you get to see the cars rolling:
Very fine. Enough said.
But there is more up at the Gazebo with afternoon Song Shows in the Park:
The Gazebo is in the shaded park and is the perfect place to relax, have a picnic, while enjoying the kids play area and the music talent that entertains from Noon to 3:00. And there is a Saturday show from 10:30 to 4:00PM with Dancing in the evening from 7:00 to 9:00 on Saturday as well. Lots to do in the park.
And just to confirm that there are Carnival rides in the Parkside as well:
The Gable Brothers Carnival and Rides open the Festival on Thursday evening May 24th and continue through to closing on Sunday May 27th. It is fun like going to THEx except in Springtime. In sum, if you get the idea that there is lots to do at the AppleBlossom Tyme Festival – let me just note I have only covered half of all the events and fun going on at the Festival. Check out the official website here. Remember the Festival is halfway between Cobourg and Brighton in Colborne on Highway 2 or at the BigApple/Colborne stop off the 401 – a perfect early summer family get away.
Heading Out from the Apple Blossom Festival
If you are heading back to Oshawa, Toronto and points West consider the Grafton Inn just down Hwy 2 in Grafton for some fine dining. Continue on down the apple orchard road 10 more kilometers to Cobourg for more excellent dining choices like the Mill Restaurant or the ButterMilk Cafe for family food. If you are looking for entertainment head North to Warkworth for an Evening of Sizzling Blues and Jazz at the Lilac Fest. In sum, Apple Blossom Tyme Festival means an opportunity to enjoy the trappings of the Northumberland Hills country.
As in the last Winter City Fest outdoor show, everything hangs by a budget cord in Toronto. The ever tougher economic times coupled with the combined city of Toronto and province of Ontario budget deficits have done in the Winter City Fest. How appropraite then that last show featured performers the Carnaval du Paris hanging by ropes stretched over a canvas starting 80 feet high right in the middle of Nathan Phillips Square of City Hall.
The state funeral of Jack Layton in Toronto allowed people to come to terms with what they had – truly Bon Jack. Canadians had not a carpetbagger politician nor a Karl Rove wannabee – nor a blame game and media maestro/mistress as seen Due South; but rather a man constantly referring back to first principles and morals in these chimeral modern times. A rare commodity in politics. Thus Jack Layton represents a re-awakening of what to expect from politics and politicians. And his funeral in Toronto allowed people to see what was lost. You can see and read it in their chalked remarks left at Nathan Phillips square:
There is almost a bewilderment at what was lost in these words. Yes, some on the right, only saw a man playing to the plebes on how to rook the State[again echoes of Due South ultra-conservative sentiments]; but in general time will tell whether Canada embraces fair and moral or strange righteous elitism. Rue the day that a Champion of Principles was felled too soon.
Only time will tell if Jack`s passing was not just a political fancy.