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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.

There is always plenty to do come the weekend in London, Ontario. You can challenge yourself to a few laps on the Go-Kart track at East Park, cool down at one of the City of London’s many splash pads or pools, or test your balance and vertigo at the Treetop Adventure Park at Boler Mountain. Always fun for the whole family! Plus London constantly has lots of festivals, exhibitions, concerts, fundraisers and more to entertain people with. Here are just a few local events to tempt you with in the city this weekend.

English: London, Ontario, Canada: The Forest C...

English: London, Ontario, Canada: The Forest City from above. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Fanshawe Agricultural Fair – Fanshawe Pioneer Village: Aug 17th – 18th, 10am – 4:30pm. $7 admission, Thresherman’s lunch $11.50 for adults, children 12 and under $5.50. Threshing demonstrations, exhibits, rare breeds display, music, and more
  • Peachfest – Great Lakes Farms: Aug 17th, 10am – 5pm, Aug 18th, 11am – 5pm. Peach picking, corn maze, tractor rides
  • Pawlooza – Plunkett Estate: Aug 17th, 10am – 6pm. $10 per car. Pet adoption, food vendors, animal-related vendors, games, agility demonstrations, dock diving for dogs
  • The Colour Run – Downtown London: Aug 17th, 9am – 1pm. 5km run where participants start dressed all in white and get doused in a variety of colours along the run. It’s about the fun, friends and freedom – the time doesn’t count!
  • Rock the Road 10K – Masonville Place: Aug 18th, 9:30am. 10km run to raise money for Bethany’s Hope Foundation. Flat course designed to get you your personal best, with live music and cheerleaders along the route.
  • Sledge Hockey Demos – Western Fair Sportsplex: Aug 17th, 1 – 2:30pm. Free. Watch sledge hockey demonstrations and try it out for yourself! Bring your own helmet and gloves, sledge and sticks provided.

Do you need more to choose from? Go a little farther afield for the not-to-be-missed event of the season – Cow-a-Polooza! Just a few minutes down the road to Woodstock, then into Southside Park, you will find two days worth of family fun for everyone. The City of Woodstock (look at the acronym there and think of why they named this fair C.O.W. a-polooza) hosts this yearly event that draws folks from miles around. Of course their claim to be the Dairy Capital of Canada helps too. Regardless, they will have rides, crafts, buskers, live music, a petting zoo, soap box derby, strongman/woman competition, pro wrestling, ducky derby, and of course a cow milking contest. I’d say that is worth the drive, wouldn’t you?

 

If cows aren’t your thing, what about tomatoes? You could zip down to Leamington for the 30th Annual Leamington Tomato Festival. I bet you’ll find plenty of ketchup available at this festival that started as an employee picnic for the H. J. Heinz Company of Canada. You can check at one of the many food vendors, but there will also be a parade, crafts, a children’s village, splash pad, beach volleyball tournament, entertainment, a Miss Tomato Pageant, plus a huge custom car show. The festival is Free and runs from August 16th – 18th at Seacliff Park. Wanna bet you’ll see a few of Leamington’s famous beefsteak tomatoes there?

 

It might not be Friday the 13th, but Port Dover might be worth the drive this weekend too, as the Port Dover Summer Festival will be held on August 17th – 18th. There will be arts, crafts, antiques, pre-loved books, plus everything else that Port Dover has come to be loved for. Play at the beach, eat at one of the many eateries, explore the harbour, or peruse the Harbour Museum. It’ll be a great weekend for it!

 

Have you ever been to Bayfield? The Bayfield Fall Fair runs from August 15th – 18th, so now is the time to discover it. In fact, this will be the 157th Bayfield Fall Fair. It is time to see what you have been missing! They have a midway, parade, Ribs & Music Festival, animal displays, baby shows, skateboard demonstrations, face painting, and plenty more family friendly stuff to see and do. Make sure you bring your bean-o, as the Bean reigns Supreme at this years fair. 

What are you up to this weekend?

 

 

Today is the last day of school for London and area children. In a few short hours, the kids will be released from school for the summer. Do you have your vacations booked? Is your car packed for the cottage? Are you ready to celebrate the Nation’s birthday this weekend? That’s right, not only do the kids get to celebrate the end of school, but summer is going to be ushered in with Canada Day celebrations this weekend!

I realize that not everyone has a cottage to escape to, or even much vacation time to draw on over the summer. There is always plenty to do around London and area though, and this weekend is no different. You can still celebrate Canada’s birthday and not necessarily have to spend a small fortune to do it. Why not look at these options;

Canada Day Fun In Your Neighbourhood

Canada Day celebrations in Summerside

Start the celebrations off early in the neighbourhood of Summerside. On Saturday, June 29th, the Summerside Optimist Club is sponsoring Canada Day festivities from 3-6 pm at Meadowgate Park. There will be inflatable bouncers, a kids dash, face painting, a maze, a BBQ by M&M, plus lots of other games and activities. Once the sun goes down, the sky will be lit up by fireworks. Glow sticks and snacks will be available to purchase as well. All profits go to further activities in Summerside, so make sure to get out and celebrate in your city.

Eldon House is getting in on the patriotic action as well. London’s oldest residence will be hosting free events in the garden between 12-5 pm. That includes live music, the chance to watch artists create en plein air, the opportunity to take in a game of croquet, Canada Day crafts for the kids, a puppet show, and even cake at 3 pm. Tours of the house are by donation.

The celebrations don’t stop there though. Between 6:30 – 10:30 pm a fundraising barbeque will be held. Tickets are $50. Dinner is served at 8 pm. There will be live entertainment, tours of the house, a silent auction, plus of course one of the best views of the fireworks being held at the Forks.

Dominion Day at Fanshawe Pioneer Village

If you want even more historic fun to ring in Canada’s 146th birthday, why not head out to Fanshawe Pioneer Village for their Dominion Day celebrations. You can watch a vintage baseball game, listen to patriotic speeches, enjoy birthday cake and lemonade on the green or a barbeque buffet in the Village Cafe. Admission is $7, with children under 3 free. Buffet prices are $13.50 for adults and $6 for children under 12.

Of course the City of London always pulls out all the stops with their Canada Day celebrations down at Harris Park. The free event features a First Nations gathering, exhibits honouring Canada’s Heroes, vendors and community exhibits, birthday cake, and plenty of live entertainment. Celebrations start at noon and run through til fireworks light up the sky after dark. In fact, here’s a preview of what to expect this Canada Day.

Have a great weekend and don’t forget to turn your alarm clocks off for the summer! 

Summer might officially still be two weeks away, but the start of Festival Season in London, Ontario makes it feel like it is already here. We’ve had the Gathering on the Green and Bark in the Park, but there is so much more to come! If London has anything to look forward to it is all the festivals that are held in our fair city, many of which are Free! If you are new to the area, or are interested in coming to visit the Forest City this summer, why not plan it around one of the amazing festivals that grace our town.

London’s Summer Festivals

 

Fiesta London! Mexican Festival:

June 9, 2013; 11 am – 9:30 pm

Head on down to Covent Garden Market (130 King St) with your mariachis for a little Mexican flair. There will be music, food and plenty of fun to celebrate the thriving Hispanic community in London. If you are strong enough to handle it, you can take a turn at busting a piñata or entering one of these contests; the Jalapeño Eating Contest, el Grito Mexicano (Mexican Shout), and/or our Taco Eating Contest. See how much love you’ll get from winning one of those!

 

Kids Expo

June 14 – 16, 2013; 11 am – 9 pm

The first festival to hit Victoria Park (Richmond Rd & Central Ave) this summer is Kids Expo. If you’ve been before, you know that they have rides, games, crafts, kid’s activities, live entertainment, plus plenty of food vendors and home exhibits. Did you know that they also have a Win Wheel Game Show? Spin the wheel for a little more fun! Plus Captain Corbin will be on hand to entertain the family with his great magic show. The festival is Free, but be forewarned the rides are extra. For $20 you can purchase an all-day ride pass though, so your kids can ride the ferris wheel til dark!

 

Fanshawe Dragon Boat Festival

June 15, 2013

Here’s a festival with a different flavour – the Fanshawe Dragon Boat Festival! Head out to Fanshawe Lake and take in a day of dragon boat racing in support of Rowbust and the Gene Goodreau Patient Assistant Fund. There will be food and merchandise vendors on hand, plus Photographers for Charity to capture it all. Dragon Boat racing is an exciting event to witness, so be sure to schedule this day in to your festival calendar.

 

Opa! Greek Festival

June 21 – 23, 2013

Opa! Get a little Greek into you at the Greek Festival at the Hellenic Centre (133 Southdale Rd W). This Free festival is all things Greek, just the way you like it. There will be activities for the kids, tours of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, music, dancing (you know that Greeks love to dance) and plenty of food (they also love their food!). Grab an ouzo and some tzatziki, and you’ll be yelling Opa too at this lively festival. All proceeds raised go to Childcan (Support children and families with childhood cancers).

 

International Food Festival

June 21 – 23, 2013; 11 am – 11 pm

The International Food Festival follows the Kids Expo in Victoria Park the very next weekend. The rides won’t be going far, as they will be up and running again once more (note that parents ride free with kids under 13). You might want to save your tour around the world’s cuisine for after the spins though, just in case. And around the world is where you’ll go! Think the Caribbean, Mexico, China, Italy, Greece, plus even more food vendors with Portuguese, Serbian, and Polish food to choose from. When you need a break from nibbling, check out the other exhibitors and listen to some of the live entertainment on hand. The Mudmen, Shelly Rastin Band and the Rumble Bees will be there, among others.

 

Sunfest 

July 4 – 7, 2013

If you appreciate internationally flavoured music, Sunfest is the festival for you. This Free festival (donations appreciated!) welcomes over 30 international acts to Victoria Park. This year is the 19th season that London has been graced with this amazing musical event. If the thought of world music, dance and jazz ensembles has you tapping your toe, start planning your weekend, as there will be 5 stages set up featuring the likes of Calypso Rose, Drumhand, Fatoumata Diawara, Hasna El Becharia, Hurlevent, Lazo, Quique Escamilla and Traeben. If you aren’t familiar with these musical sensations, now is your chance to broaden your horizons! Don’t forget to sample some cuisine from the wide array of international food vendors, and pick up something from one of the many craft or art vendors in the park. See you there!

 

Home County Music & Art Festival

July 19 – 21, 2013; Friday 6 – 11 pm, Saturday noon – 11 pm, Sunday noon – 9 pm

Here’s another festival for the music lovers out there. Get ready to be entertained as some amazing musicians will be headed to town to share stories in workshops, plus perform at one of six stages. I kid you not on amazing. Sarah Harmer, Great Lake Swimmers, Katherine Wheatley, Ken Whitely, Nora Galloway & the Tearjerkers, Shane Cook, The Good Brothers, The Rizdales, and The Sadies will all be there. Some of the original artists (Valdy, Rick Taylor & David Bradstreet) to play 40 years ago at the first Home County will be back this year to celebrate too. How’s that for dedication to their art?! Speaking of art, there will also be over 150 vendors selling food, arts, crafts, jewellery, ceramics, textiles and more. Don’t forget your lawn chairs!

 

London Ribfest

August 1 – 5, 2013; 11 am – 11 pm

One of the festivals  that meat-eaters love best has to be London Ribfest. Started back in 1985, this carnivore delight is still going strong, with ribbers from far and wide coming to not only eat ribs, but also partake in the competitions. That’s right, there are 10 rib-teams vying for the title of “Best Ribs” in town. Wouldn’t you care to judge? The best way to enjoy them is with a drink in hand and the operators of this festival know that all too well. That’s why they have not one, but TWO beer gardens on offer. And of course, there is more than just ribs on offer, as they let other food vendors hawk their wares as well. The rides are back for some long weekend fun, as well as plenty of other exhibitors to tempt you with. The entertainment lineup is just one more reason to stop in to Ribfest, as Lucky Widmore, Mr E, Gentleman Jim, Robin Hawkins, and of course Bobnoxious (they wouldn’t miss out on beer and ribs) will all be there. Will you?

 

Festa Italiana

Festa Italiana

August 23 – 25, 2013; 11 am – midnight, Sunday to 11 pm

How about a little Italian to wind down the summer? I’m not just talking about going out for spaghetti either. Covent Garden Market will host this year’s Festa Italiana when it welcomes opera, dancing, food, culture and even more music to this Free festival. You’ll be sure to fall in love with all things Italian!

Hello Londoners. The weekend is rolling around again. Faster than normal for those of you with children in the public school setting, as there is a PA Day tomorrow on Friday, April 19th. If you have care for your youngsters great. If you have the day off and are wondering how to entertain your little ones with the forecast calling for rain, never fear. London knows how to host a PA day extraordinaire!

Investing in Children and its sponsors, the Kiwanis Club of Forest City, bring you the annual Kids First Day 2013! Kids First Day was born out of a response to negative images of London and its problems back in 2006. Organizers of the first event knew that London had way more to offer than the what the spouted deficiencies claimed. What followed was a community wide effort to showcase that London had a thriving family friendly community that deserved noting.

And today that equates to over 50 locations opening their doors to children and families for free or at a low-cost.

So who is involved and where can you go? A full list is on the Investing in Children website. They have it handily broken down into venues in the North, East, South, West and Central parts of London. Here is just a glimpse of some of the fun to be expected around the city;

Kids First Day 2013

Central

  • Boys & Girls Club of London (184 Horton St): 1 – 4 pm, free drop-in program for children, including swimming, gym, rock climbing, arts & crafts, computers
  • London Regional Children’s Museum (21 Wharncliffe Rd S): 5 – 8 pm, free admission to the museum and its exhibits
  • Museum London (421 Ridout St N): 1 – 4 pm, scavenger hunt, family friendly tours, art making
  • YMCA Centre Branch (382 Waterloo St): Open Swim (4 ft) 2:30 – 5:00 pm, Family Swim (2 ft) 5:15 – 7:00 pm, Open Swim (large pool) 7:15 – 8:15 pm, Deep Water Swim (ages 13-24) 7:00 – 8:00 pm

North

  • Chapters (86 Fanshawe Park Rd W): 11 am – 2 pm, Make your own bookmarks
  • Fanshawe Pioneer Village (2609 Fanshawe Park Rd E): 10 am – 2 pm, Grand Opening of brand new Spriet Family Visitor Centre and Trillium Community Gallery with on-going activities throughout the day
  • Museum of Ontario Archaeology (1600 Attawandaran Rd): 10 am – 4:30 pm, scavenger hunts, pottery making and plenty of games

East

  • East Park Golf Gardens (1275 Hamilton Rd E): 9 am – dusk, one free round of mini golf with every paying adult
  • Family Centre – Carling Thames (335 Belfield St): 10 am – 1 pm, music, movement, crafts and games for children 3-13 years
  • London Public Library; Beacock, Carson, Crouch & East London Branches: 9 am – 5 pm, make crafty creatures, ages 4 and up

South

  • Adventures on Wonderland (3198 Wonderland Rd S): All day, Discounted general admission $6.25, 1/2 price Laser Tag $1.75/player
  • Bowlerama (138 Thompson Rd): 10:00 am – 11:00am (first shift) and 11:00 am – 12:00pm (second shift). 5 Pin Bowling @ $3.75 per bowler including shoes. First shift: 6 regular lanes & 18 bumper lanes. Second shift: 6 regular lanes & 14 bumper lanes
  • Mad Science (Unit 123, 4026 Meadowbrook Dr): 11 am – 1 pm and 2 – 4 pm, amaze your mind, make slime

West

  • ArtVenture Art Studio (1438 Aldersbrook Rd): 50 minute activities at 9 am, 10 am, 1:30 pm & 2:30 pm, art activities will be set up around studio in a variety of mediums
  • Fleetway (720 Proudfoot Lane): 9 am – 6 pm, 5 and 10 pin bowling, purchase one game and receive one free, doesn’t include shoe rentals
  • Kidscape (1828 Blue Heron Dr): 9:30 am – 6 pm, discounted admission of $6 +HST for kids 1-12, studio fees waived in Artistscape Ceramic Painting Studio

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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