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The summer is winding down, but there are still plenty of festivals around the Forest City. London, Ontario should almost think of changing its name to the “Festival” City come summertime, as there are no less than three more festivals going on this weekend. The weather is shaping up to be warm, sunny and without a drop of rain. Perfect for checking out one of these great Free outdoor festivals this weekend.

Festa Italiana:

WHEN: August 23rd – 25th, 2013; Fri & Sat 11 am – midnight, Sun 11 am – 11 pm

WHERE: Covent Garden Market (130 King St)

Buon giorno London! Welcome back the Festa Italiana for its 13th annual festival of all things Italian. There will be food, music, fun, and dancing under the stars. If you like opera, they’ve got it, compliments of Maestro Sabatino Vacca. Care for an aria or two? Why not stick around to hear Victoria Gydov or Laura Palumbo. Perhaps you would like to dance the night away in the piazza with Orchestra Italiana London? There is also plenty of daytime activities too, like face painting, folk dancing, grape stomping, Venetian mask making, cake eating contests, fashion shows, and so much more. If you can feel your Italian blood heating up at the thought of all the fun, you have all weekend to enjoy it. Just head downtown!

Come out for the community fun at the South East Summer Fest

South East Summer Fest:

WHEN: Saturday, August 24th, 2013; 2 – 6 pm

WHERE: Southeast Optimist Park (237 Deveron Cres)

Not all of London’s festivals happen downtown. The folks in Ward 14 have been whooping it up in Southeast London for a few years now, and the entertainment just keeps on getting bigger and better. The original plan behind this gathering was to engage the immediate neighbourhood and provide information about services, community involvement, as well as encourage physical activity, have a little food, drink in fun. As news of the event got out, more community groups have gotten involved, so now info booths regarding non-profit organizations, welcome committees, social services, and more have become involved. You’ll see the London Fire Department and London Police Services. And if that doesn’t interest you, perhaps a midway, buskers, games or the stage with live entertainment will. This festival might be in Southeast London, but it is open to all, so head on down for Summer Fest this weekend.

Wortley Village Jazz and Blues Festival:

WHEN: Sunday, August 25th, 2013; 3 – 8 pm

WHERE: Between Craig and Elmwood on Wortley Rd

The Wortley Village Jazz & Blues Festival has been on hiatus the last two years, but is back in 2013 and bound to rock Wortley Village again. With 10 bands set to play on 8 stages, there will be sure to be something for everyone that attends this hotly anticipated outdoor festival. Wortley Rd will be closed to traffic between 2 – 9pm, so that festival goers can wander from stage to stage, taking in the sights and sounds of the afternoon. Be sure to bring a lawn chair, as local London musicians will set the stage for you to stay a while. All the restaurants in the Village will be open, as well as some of the local stores, plus even  some tables set up by local vendors who want to get in on the fun. It is sure to be another great community event that you won’t want to miss if you are anywhere near Old South.

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Have you made it to the Western Fair yet? Me neither, but I just might take the kids there this weekend. If you have already been (and dropped enough money for one year), are you looking for something else to occupy yourself with this weekend? You are in luck, as I’ve got you covered. Look no further than the pages of this blog, as I always try to come up with interesting things for you to see and do in London and the surrounding area. We are lucky to live in a wonderful community, with lots of interesting events and attractions that go on all year long. So what’s going on this weekend?

 

STUFF TO DO IN LONDON THIS WEEKEND

Why not take in a show of a different nature this weekend? Forget the blare of the midway and take a step back into the past at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology (1600 Attawandaron Rd) as they host the Native Harvest Festival and Traditional Pow Wow. Now this is an event that will be not only fun, but also educational. It is a free (donations accepted) event that runs Friday, September 14th, from 7-9pm, through to Saturday and Sunday the 16th, from 10am-4:30pm.

If you are not sure what to expect, not to worry. You can look forward to Native crafts, cultural workshops, children’s activities, plus food vendors to tempt your tummy with. One of the biggest draws of the weekend will be the storytelling, singing and of course the wide variety of Native dancing demonstrations. Have you ever been to a pow wow or seen traditional Native dancing? It is an impressive and powerful experience, replete with intricate costumes and hypnotic rhythms. The beat of a drum is integral to the many dances, that include Men’s Fancy, Grass and Traditional dances, as well as Women’s Fancy Shawl and Jingle Dress dances. That drum just reverberates through everything, including you the listener. If that rhythm infects you and you need to take a piece of it home, be sure to stop into the hand drum workshop, where you can learn some techniques of your own! While you are there, make sure to check out the Longhouse, tour Attawandaron Park, peruse the Galleries and maybe even pick up a souvenir from the Gift Shop. You just might find that you mark the date to go back for their “Christmas in a Longhouse” Native Art & Craft Sale on November 25, 2012!

 

Another local London blogger tipped me off to another way to get back to nature this weekend – at the 2012 Ontario Tree Climbing Competition. Now how is that for a manly way to spend your Saturday? Don’t let me fool you though, as this competition is open to both men and women, and it is all about skill, of which the climbers have a carabiner’s weight-load worth. These amazing arborists will be climbing trees in Springbank Park on Saturday, September 15th, 2012, with their eyes on the International Tree Climbing Championship in Toronto in 2013. You can watch them compete in a variety of skill-testing competitions that make climbing your backyard maple seem like a cakewalk. For those daring enough though, there will be a “Climb for All Ages” area, where you can test your own climbing prowess, under the watchful eye of a professional arborist of course.

 

Or maybe you were thinking of something active, fun and in support of a good cause, like the Easter Seals Power Play Road Hockey Tournament? Now that’s the ticket! Got a good slapshot? Maybe a wrist shot that will impress the likes of Curtis Joseph? Head on down to the Covent Garden market on Friday, September 14, 2012 for the 12th Annual Power Play event of the season and maybe you’ll even meet Cujo himself! Registration begins at 11am and the puck drops at 12:05pm. While there will be a Live Auction helping to raise money as well, all of the action will be on the street. This is 4-on-4 hockey like it should be, with 30 teams  of 6 players each competing for top dog of London’s roads. The best part is that it raises money for Easter Seals kids and at the end of the day, that is what it is all about.

Have a Great Weekend Londoners! 

What’s going on London, Ontario? We are down to the last weekend of August and summer is slipping through our fingers fast. What did your summer look like? Did you travel the country or relax in your very own backyard? Did anyone make it camping or were you lucky enough to escape to the cottage? How about all those festivals? Did you make it to any? If you somehow managed to miss them all, I happened to have heard of a few more festivals to entertain you with before the summer winds to a close.

LAST OF LONDON’S SUMMER FESTIVALS

FESTA ITALIANA

You might start the day in downtown London, but prepared to be whisked away to Italy this coming weekend. From August  24-26, 2012, Covent Garden Market will be transformed into an Italian cultural hub during Festa Italiana. If you go, you will be treated to delicious Italian delectables, as well as be able to watch live cooking demonstrations, but it doesn’t stop there. Italians love their music and the festival is no exception. Orchestra Italiana London (OIL) will tempt you to fall in love with Italian tunes, as will the likes of many talented tenors and sopranos. A fashion show will also be held Friday night. And if that’s not enough, make a point of catching the opera on Sunday at 7pm, when the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra presents La Traviata. Not something you get to see every day, and well worth checking out for its magnificent homage to all things Italian. The hours of the festival are 11am-midnight (Sunday to 11pm), so make sure you bring some dancing shoes to take it all in with. It is sure to be a buon fine settimana!

FALL FEST

Back for a second year in a row, Fall Fest is returning to Victoria Park from August 31 through to September 3, 2012. If you missed it last year, you have to make a point of checking out this great new free festival in the core. From 11am-11pm, all weekend long, tempt yourself with carnival rides, visit the food vendors, listen to live music, plus get a taste of fall fun with a biggest pumpkin contest, live animal displays, craft displays, wood-working demonstrations and competitive arts competitions (like quilt, bread and wine making). It’s a great way to say goodbye to festival season at Victoria Park, so head down to say goodbye to summer in London!

LAMBETH & COMMUNITY HARVEST FEST

If you prefer your festivals with a smaller town feel, then look no further than the South end of London for the 34th annual Lambeth & Community Harvest Festival from September 6-9, 2012. This is how a fall festival is meant to be! Look forward to a teen dance, adult dance, a golf tournament and slo-pitch tournament, a “Show & Shine” car show, Saturday pancake breakfast, children’s fun fair, arts and crafts shows and so much more! You want horseshoes? You got ’em! Have a hankering for a trip to the beer garden or food concessions? Help yourself all weekend long. Everybody loves a parade, so be there sharp at 10am to watch the march. Live music more your speed? How about tunes from Sarah Smith, Radio or Super Falcon to appease you? Perhaps you would rather enjoy fireworks? Show up Sunday at dusk then. With venues around Lambeth, you will get a feel for the slower pace and huge heart that a small community offers.

And just so you know, if you are tempted to move a little closer, let me know! I can always help you make your Lambeth love a reality!

Have you been downtown recently? Done any shopping or wandering around at all in the London core? If you haven’t, you should consider taking a trip down. Downtown London is quite the neat place to be nowadays. You want fun for the whole family? Well, Downtown London has it!

Starting at the multi-purpose  John Labatt Centre in London’s core, you can check out a hockey game, rock out to hip and modern concerts (like Kelly Clarkson, Hedley or Neil Diamond in June!), or even be cultured by Broadway in London shows like Fiddler on the Roof or Riverdance! Before a show, you even have the option to dine at the on-sight “Talbot Restaurant” conveniently located on the 200 level. In fact, if you haven’t stepped inside the building since it opened in 2002, why not head down there this weekend. The annual Open House Skate is this Sunday December 11th, from 11am-1pm. Don’t forget the kids helmets!

There are loads of other fabulous finds surrounding the JLC as well. In fact right across the street is the Covent Garden Market. From organic meat, to artisan bread, plus fresh vegetables every colour of the rainbow, you’ll have dinner covered after stopping here! On Thursdays and Saturdays they even hold a Farmer’s Market featuring fruit, vegetables, flowers, bread, jams and more! You can see from the picture that they have their annual ice rink started too (although I don’t think it is quite ready yet). The kids will love heading downtown to do a few laps on this free rink, followed by a trip inside for a hot chocolate or other sweet treat.

Speaking of sweet treats, I just have to show you these irresistible looking candy apples that I saw at Forrat’s Chocolates. Oh my God, I am drooling! If candy apples aren’t your thing, then I am sure you won’t be able to resist their truffles. Did I mention all of their luscious creations are made fresh on site? Right now the shelves are lined with gift baskets, chocolate dipped pretzels, seasonally themed chocolate pops and more. It is worth chatting with the friendly franchise owner Roger Carlos too, as he can fill you in on what is on special, new things he is working on and seems to be open to suggestions as well!

If you are looking for something to feed your brain though, why not head in the other direction towards Museum London. This home for visual art and material culture is worth checking out for an afternoon. If you want to get more involved in art, why not take a class though? On Sunday afternoons from 1-3:45pm, join the Imagination Station with Claire Bice Creative Studio. This family friendly afternoon is all about getting creative with your kids and having fun with art. If you would rather have a little free time while junior explores his inner Picasso, they have an assortment of camps available as well, be it for a PD Day, Winter Break or just a regular Saturday class. If all that creativity sounds too good to pass up, don’t worry as you can find a class or workshop of your own to join whether you want to try your hand at drawing, watercolour or even sculpture. Plus, Museum London probably has just about the best space in the city to work on your inner peace with a little yoga over-looking the Thames River. Yes, I am in touch with my ohm, no matter what my wife says! And as a last note, did I mention that you can visit Museum London for the price of a donation? After wandering around this beautiful facility, you just might be the wanting to rent it for your next function. Yes, you can do that too!

That is just the tip of the iceberg of what Downtown London has to offer though. Victoria Park always has something on the go. The Central Library is great for borrowing books, but also has plenty of workshops, shows and concerts going on too.  If you want to eat, high-quality restaurants pack King St and Richmond Row, to mention just two hopping districts. You can’t beat The Grand for top-notch live theatre. You want more though, why not check out the Downtown London website to see for yourself why you should head downtown! Food, entertainment, shopping and more. We’ve got it all in the best city in Southwestern Ontario!

If you don’t live here, why NOT! Call me. I can bring all of this to your neighbourhood.

Welcome to In Your Neighbourhood!

Allow me to introduce myself. The name is Jim. You want to know more? Well, check out my "About Me" page! Don't forget to take a peek at my "Local London Listings" while you are here too! I update it regularly. Enjoy your visit and drop me a line to let me know you were in the neighbourhood!

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