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The big news this weekend in London, Ontario is of course Sunfest. Alfredo Caxaj  came up with the little idea to host an international music festival in London way back in 1994. Victoria Park has rocked the world tunes ever since and it continues to get stronger every year. This year there are over 35 performers set to perform on one of five stages set up around the park, with 275 unique craft and food vendors on hand to tempt you with. You can buy jewellery, clothing, musical instruments, crafts, get a henna tattoo or pick up your favourite musical act’s merchandise. There will be food from all over the world, including cuisine from Tibet, Iran, Nova Scotia, India, Cuba, East and Southern Africa, a variety of Latin countries, Thailand and even Canada (think Kelsey’s, slushies, and fries).

Brazilian guitarist, singer/songwriter Rômmel Ribeiro will be onstage July 6-7

The main attraction of course is the music though. And the lineup this year aims to please. With artists like “Boogat”, a hip hop artist from Quebec, playing Thursday and Friday, “Briga”, the Montreal born, Serbo-Croatian violinist who plays Romani folk songs on stage the 5th, 6th and 7th, the percussionist group “Drumhand” from Toronto hitting stages from the 5th through 7th, the reggae band “Long Shen Dao” from Beijing, China set to have their North American debut on July 6th and 7th, plus so many more exuberant artists on hand, it will be hard to decide which stage to watch.

Fatoumata Diwara willbe wowing audiences on July 4th and 5th

What else do you need to know? How about that Sunfest is a FREE festival, that only asks for  a donation of $2 or more to their circulating pickle jars. It is the least you can do to help keep the festival going. Souvenir programs cost $3 and offer more information about the festival and its participants. Sunfest runs from July 4-7, 2013. Musical performances are held between 6-11 pm on Thursday, noon to 11 pm on Friday and 11:30 am – 11 pm on Saturday and Sunday. The general festival hours are between 11 am – 11 pm.

Get ready for a little urban joropo with Palo Cruzao July 5-7th

The festival is also one of London’s green festivals, which means vendors will only be selling their wares in compostable containers, utensils and drinking glasses made from paper, or corn and potato starch. Eco-Stations will be set up around the park with containers for recycling bins, compost bins and waste bins, manned by friendly volunteers to help you out if you get confused. Bring your own water bottle (refill it at a fountain on site) and don’t forget your own reusable shopping bag for whatever items you purchase. You might even want to consider biking, carpooling or taking the bus down to Victoria Park to help out the environment that little bit more. However you manage it, make sure you stop in to Sunfest this weekend (one of Ontario’s Top 100 Festivals, as rated by Festivals & Events Ontario).

See you there!


It’s that time of year! If you face the right way, I swear you can smell deep-fried… What is that? Is that a wagon wheel I smell? Perhaps a butter tart? Heck, it just might be, as the Western Fair has a deep fry it contest running this year and the fair opens tomorrow! There will be deep-fried goodness knows what, and I know you won’t want to miss out on the fun. This year’s Western Fair runs from September 7-16, 2012 and is sure to be another great year!

Before I forget though, I have to remind you that today is the last day that you can get Advance ticket sales, so go grab your tickets before you miss out on an opportunity to save a few bucks. You can save $6 on an adult admission ticket, $1 for children 5-10 years old and $5 for ride-all-day Fun Passes. That adds up to a lot of savings! Of course, if you can’t grab tickets beforehand, there is still 2-for-1 admission from Monday to Thursday, and 2-for-1 ride tickets on Sunday, September 16th.

Western Fair 2008 London Ontario Canada

Now, what do you have to look forward to at the Western Fair this year? TONNES! There will be rides, games, animal exhibits (with the maternity ward back again by popular demand), shopping, a rodeo (Sep 7-9), lots of other horse demonstrations, a Community Showcase in the Special Events building, Youth Talent shows, a rotating cultural village, plenty of food vendors, a wide variety of live entertainment and so much more! If you are into concerts, you are in luck too, as the Coca Cola Free Stage will be lining up some excellent musicians. Have you heard of Trooper, Leahy or the Arkells? What about Faber Drive, Jo Dee Messina or April Wine? They will all be at the Western Fair this year and the cost is nothing, aside from the price of admission to the fair. Now THAT is a sweet deal, if I ever heard one.

Western Fair, London Ontario Canada.

How much do you really know about this annual event though? The very first Western Fair was held North of Victoria Park in downtown London, Ontario in 1868. It moved to its present location at 900 King St in 1887, when it received legal status through the Provincial Charter and Act of Incorporation. While the Fair runs every year in early September, the Fair grounds see lots of other activity over the course of the year. There is the Western Fair Raceway, plenty of slot machines in the Casino, the agricultural complex, plus lots of other events that are held in the many buildings on the grounds of the Western Fair District.

What else can I say? It is shaping up to be another fabulous year at the fair and my family can’t wait to go. We can see a My Little Ponies stage show, watch Sheldon the Magician, shake hands with Ronald Macdonald and even meet Olivia (the piglet from children’s book fame). How can you beat that?

So what are you doing over the next 10 days? With Free Parking available and $5 Bounce Back tickets to get you into the fair again and again, I bet you just might meander in the direction of East London to take in the fun.

See you there!

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.



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!


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!


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!

This is the weekend that all good rockers come out in droves. That’s right Londoners. It’s time for the 9th annual Rock the Park in London, Ontario! With a mittful of rockin hot musicians warming up over at Harris Park as we speak, and proceeds going to Bethany’s Hope, you don’t want to miss this awesome event. The fun starts this afternoon at 4pm, with Monster Truck from Hamilton, Ontario taking the stage, but rocks throughout the weekend.

Have you heard tell who else is going to be there? Check it out! Something for every good rocker to enjoy from the 70s, 80s, 90s to right now!

Thursday, July 26 Friday, July 27 Saturday, July 28
9:00pm – SLASH with Myles Kennedy 9:30pm – Steve Miller Band 9:30pm – BOSTON
7:15pm – BUSH 7:30pm – George Thorogood 7:30pm – REO Speedwagon
5:45pm – I Mother Earth 6:00pm – David Wilcox 6:00pm – 54-40
4:30pm – Monster Truck 4:30pm – The Romantics 4:30pm – Prism

You know it’ll be loud, but that’s what its all about! Don’t expect any ballads from Slash and don’t be surprised if the audience is louder than the Steve Miller Band on some of their classic favourites. I’m sure that Boston and REO Speedwagon will be in top form as well, but you will have to roll down to Harris Park to hear for yourself.

Here’s a taste to rev up your engines, before you head downtown to Rock the Park!


For those of you that are feeling a little beyond the hard rock that comes in music form, I have a quieter suggestion for your weekend entertainment. How about working on that rock garden you’ve always dreamed about? With all the heat alerts that we have been having this summer, it is a perfect answer to your wilting garden. Think low-growing, creeping and hardy plants that can survive the heat and lack of water that has been rampant this summer. You might consider heat tolerant species like Portulaca, Candytuft, Sedum, Boxwood or an ornamental grass or two. While you are working away in your new garden, the only sound you will hear will be the sound of your wheel barrow straining under the weight of your rocks. Or maybe the sound of your grunts when you drop a loose boulder or two on your foot.

That is unless you live in the vicinity of Harris Park. They shut it down by 11pm, so don’t plan on going to bed early Thursday, Friday or Saturday night folks, unless you figure that you will pass out cold after all your hard work in the garden.

ROCK on this weekend folks!

Do you have any plans for this weekend Londoners? After the refreshing rain of the last few days, the weather is looking like it is going to be sunny and beautiful again. Perfect weather to explore a garden or two, I’d say. I’m sure that the gardeners participating in the Garden Gates Open 2012 would agree. You will too, if you make the time this weekend to get out and explore the 5th annual garden tour of everyday gardens around London, Ontario.

If you think I am talking about London’s best kept garden secret, let me let you in on the know. This local grassroots event is all about “Every Day Gardens by Everyday People”. From 10am Saturday, July 21, 2012 to Sunday, July 22 at 6pm, 28 residential gardens and 9 commercial gardens will open their gates to anyone and everyone that appreciates a patch of green. The gardens range from small, compact and creative, to large, rambling and rapturous, but all have one thing in common – a love of gardening.

And you never know. Maybe next year you will have your garden ready to share with the people of London too. All you need is a green thumb, a patch of dirt and a little know-how on how to coax the two into a state of beauty for everyone to enjoy. If you get the chance, it is certainly worth the effort, so stop by and support these great everyday people, making their environments extraordinary. Here’s the map, so get exploring!



Don’t forget to get out and support our local musicians and artisans, while you are out and about this weekend too. Home County Music & Art Festival will be going on at Victoria Park from Friday July 20, 2012 at 6pm, through to Sunday, July 22nd at 8:30pm. You will be treated to over 120 Canadian artisans showcasing pottery, glass, jewellery, metal, wood, textiles, fine art and more. There will be 30 food vendors on hand, offering a wide variety of food choices as well. Also, Home County’s Green Village, which showcases “green vendors who demonstrate innovation and environmental sustainability in products and services” will be in action for a second year. And of course take the time to stop and listen to the music from a superb selection of Canadian talents. There will be afternoon workshops on both Saturday and Sunday, as well as evening performances by a wide group of musicians. Home County has been rated one of the top 100 festivals in Ontario, so be sure not to miss it.

Have a great weekend Londoners!

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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