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Say goodbye to summer. It is Labour Day this weekend – the last official weekend of summer. Sure, we might still might have nice weather for the next little while, but after Labour Day, typically anything is possible; rain, sun, wind, even snow! Ok, statistics are a little shaky on snow in September, but we typically get the most average rainfall in a month in September and they are calling for a near normal Fall. All I am suggesting is that an umbrella in the future might be handy.

So my suggestion would be to get out and enjoy the warm temperatures that we are expected to receive this weekend! School and a return to routines might be on the horizon, but this weekend should still be all about fun in the sun. And there is still plenty to do in London, Ontario, so get out and enjoy our last long weekend of summer.

Labour Day in London

It only started a few years ago, but London’s Victoria Park Fall Fest is getting bigger and better every year. The festival mecca for so many of London’s summer festivals, Victoria Park will again be hosting this last hurrah to summer. And it’s not a festival without food, games, live music, a beer garden, and rides! Tipping their hat to our area rural roots, Victoria Park Fall Fest also features pumpkin carving, scarecrow making, a giant corn maze, and so much more. Try your hand at lassoing a steer.  Jump into the air village, where blow up bouncy castles reign. Grab an all-day ride bracelet for $15 and ride all the rides again, and again, and again! Fall Fest runs from August 30th to September 2nd, 2013, from 11am – 11pm. With 15 bands set to play, the saloon set up and ready to serve you up a cold draught beer or wine, and vendors ready to hawk their wares, where else would you rather be, than this Free festival this weekend?

Home opener this weekend!

School might not have started yet, but area post-secondary students are already back in town. You will be sure to see a few of them at the Western Mustangs home opener on September 2nd at 7pm versus the Carleton Ravens. University football is back in town! This year marks the 100th Anniversary of Western athletics, so if you’ve never been out to a game before, this year is the time to support London. The game will be at the TD Waterhouse Stadium on the Western University campus. Follow the fans screams to the corner of Western and Sarnia Roads, and you’ll be sure to find them. Don’t forget to wear purple in support of our home team!

St Thomas Fire Muster Days

As it is the last weekend before you get back to the regular rat race, you might want to take it easy at home too. You could pack the kids backpacks, make a tonne of snacks to freeze for lunches, and organize your home to get ready for jumping back into the swing of things. Or you could take a drive to St Thomas to take part in the St Thomas Fire Muster Days. The 31st Annual St Thomas Fire Muster Days will be held in Pinafore Park from August 30th – September 1st, 2013. Events kick off Friday at 5pm with a barbeque in the park, followed by a movie at 8:15pm. All weekend you can check out antique fire trucks, visit the beer garden, enjoy the children’s area, take in live entertainment, and of course tempt your taste buds with food. St Thomas’ finest will be taking part in Fire Muster Competitions, such as “midnight alarm”, “rescue run” and “burning schoolhouse”. There will even be a parade Saturday at 10:30am.

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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?

 

 

This weekend the Home County Music and Art Festival will be rolling into London, Ontario. What’s even more exciting about Home County this year, is that it is the 40th anniversary of this vibrant festival’s occurrence in Downtown London. Victoria Park will again play host to some of Canada’s finest musicians and artisans, as they bring the park alive from July 19th – 21st, 2013. So what do you need to know before you go?

Home County 101

  • Admission is by donation. There is no admission fee per se, but increased costs of the festival have made it important for festival goers who appreciate this event to help support it monetarily. Suggested donations are $5, but donations of $20 or more are eligible for a receipt.
  • Hours: Friday 6pm – 11pm, Saturday noon – 11pm, Sunday noon – 9pm
  • Vendors: Like other local festivals, there will be plenty of vendors on hand. Whether you are looking for something to eat or souvenir crafts from local artisans, there is something for everyone. There will be 30 food vendors at the festival. Over 120 Canadian Artists will be at this year’s Home County selling everything from glass, pottery, textiles, wood, metal and more. There will be gourmet goodies, jewellery, photography, and even a musical instrument or two. Don’t forget your pocket-book!
  • Take a Seat & Make a Friend will be encouraging positive mental health at Home County

    Green SceneI’m proud to say that many of London’s festivals have embraced a green culture over the years, with Home County no exception to the rule. Food vendors will offer recyclable or compostable containers, plus there will be a rinse station for those who bring their own cutlery and plates. In addition to that, there is a focus on Green Vendors this year as well. Vendors who offer innovative and sustainable products or services will be featured in the Green Village. In addition to that, Community Lane will feature vendors who are aiming to make a difference right here in our community with their worthy causes.

  • Returning again this year, Valdy played at the first Home County and many more since then

    Performers: This year, the organizers of Home County decided to be a little different. Most years the promoters try to showcase new acts that have never played the festival before. In recognition of the fact that this year is the 40th anniversary, they decided to invite back festival favourites from previous years. All the musicians that you will see on the mainstage, or in a workshop at one of the other stages, were all personally invited to attend this year’s event. That’s quite the honour for them and a treat for anyone planning on taking in this year’s special 40th anniversary festival. you will see the likes of David Bradstreet, The Sadies, Sarah Harmer, The Kramdens, Ken Whiteley, Rick Taylor, Nora Galloway & the Tearjerkers, Laura Smith, Shane Cook, The Good Brothers, The Rizdales and even the popular Great Lake Swimmers. There are plenty more great musicians lined up who all call Canada home and would greatly appreciate your support this weekend.

Are you planning on going to the 40th Anniversary Home County Music and Arts Festival?

 

The rain has stopped. Sunshine is forecast for the next few days. How perfect that it is just in time for the weekend! So what are your plans? Cleaning out the garage? Finishing up your garden planting? Or are you itching to get out and enjoy that summer weather on the town? It’s Father’s Day weekend. Heck, ditch the chore list and find something fun to do with Pops. That’s more like it!

Why not start with a clean slate before heading out. How about washing the dirt off your vehicle that the got kicked up by all the rain this week. On Saturday, June 15th, you can do just that, at one of 26 participating car washes in London for the Protect our Environment Carwash Event. There are car wash facilities all over the city participating, from touchless washes to self-serve facilities. The City of London has teamed up with the Canadian Carwash Association to raise awareness about environmental issues surrounding our waterways. Part of the money raised will be contributed to the London Cares Curbside Food Drive, which in turn supports the London Food Bank. So not only will you have a clean car to drive for the rest of the weekend, but you will be making a better choice for the environment and supporting a good cause in the process. Check the above link for participating locations and then make a plan to do something a little more exciting than washing your vehicle yourself on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

So after a spin through the washer, what else can you get up to? Last week I highlighted some of London’s Summer Festivals, and two of them are being held this weekend alone – Dragon Boat Festival and Kids Expo. They both could certainly be added to the roster of things to do. You could also go to another festival, that I failed to mention last week; the London International Quilt Festival. It started June 12th and runs through to June 15th in the Grand Ballroom at the Hilton Hotel (300 King St). The theme for this year’s Quilt Festival is ‘Africa’ and there are almost 200 quilts from all over that continent, with workshops and lectures from various African teachers. Hours are 10 am – 5 pm on Thursday and Saturday, and 10 am – 9 pm on Friday. The Festival will wrap up with a Gala Evening on Saturday, featuring music, dancers, fashion and a full-course meal. Sounds colourful!

Perhaps you would like something a little edgier, a little wilder to fill the weekend with though. Then head out to Wildwood Conservation Area (3995 Line 9,  St Mary’s) for the Wild Ride Mountain Bike Festival! This is a festival that just might take your breath away. The folks at the Lung Association know that it is worth it though. This exciting event raises money to help people breathe, long after the last racer crosses the finish line on June 15th. So what do you need to know? The event starts at 9 am. There are 25 km of trails to ride. Wild Kids (12 and under) ride free in the Dr Murray Forest. There will be a community barbeque, demos, exhibitors, plus an opportunity to go camping after the race is done. Now ride!

If you want the excitement, but can’t bring yourself to climb onto your bike that is hanging derelict in the garage, why not take Dad out to the ballgame instead. This event won’t cost a dime to get in, so it makes the perfect Father’s Day gift from the kids! That’s right, Sifton Properties is hosting the 4th Annual free event in celebration of their 90th anniversary, and they want YOU to be a part of it. All you have to do is register today for the Pack the Park 2013 at Labatt Memorial Park (25 Wilson Ave). Doors open at 1 pm. What Daddy wouldn’t appreciate an afternoon watching baseball with his family? So cheer on the London Majors, as they batter up against the Brantford Red Sox. This is a gift any Father would love.

Whatever you get up to, make sure to take the time to offer a bit of love to dear old Dad. He’s a pretty good guy, and deserves to hear it every once in a while. I am hoping for a hug or two of my own. Happy Father’s Day!

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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