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We might be considered little London, but there is nothing small about our fabulous city this weekend. In fact, we are so desirable that the world is coming to us! That’s right. If you head downtown, you will see a distinctly international flair in the air.

Where? At Sunfest!

SUNFEST

(Victoria Park; July 5-8, 2012, 11am-11pm)

Can you hear the rhythm beat?
Do you need a way to beat the heat?
Well, Sunfest is the way to go!
There’s music, dancing and a full festive show!

Starting today, you can catch some live bands
Get up and boogie while you clap your hands
Wiggle and shout along to Samba Squad
And there’ll be lots of other musicians that you can applaud!

Catch Phil Dwyer, Mdungu and LYY
Or Kaja, Joaquin Diaz, or Five Alarm Funk, you’ll also spy
But there’s more than music at Victoria Park
There’s a taste explosion for you too to embark

Eat souvlaki, churros and candy floss too
Or wander through the vendors for a craft or two.
You’ll find hats, drums and jewellery at a great price
And that Henna arm band would sure look nice!

So what are you waiting for? Get up and go!
The earlier you get there, the more fun, you know.
So make sure you take your smiles and your fun
Because Sunfest is a festival that beats all, bar none!

How many of you made it out to the Kids Expo last weekend? Never fear, as there are lots more festivals yet to come for the 2012 Summer Lineup in London. As I could easily feature at least a festival a week, I thought it might be not a bad idea to give you a bigger heads up, so that you can plan out your festival going this year. You want Greek? Opa! Head out this weekend. Food with an international flair? You’re in luck as the Food festival is this weekend too. There are lots more opportunities to get outside in London, Ontario this summer though. This way, if you don’t live here, you can at least plan on making the trip so as not to miss out on the fun. Take a look!

2012 LONDON SUMMER FESTIVALS

Outdoor Greek Festival –

Opa, its time for a taste of Greece with the 2012 Opa: Outdoor Greek Festival this weekend, June 22-24, 2012 at the Hellenic Community Centre at 133 Southdale Rd W. Hours of the festival are Friday – 6pm-Midnight, Saturday -Noon – Midnight and Sunday – 11am-10pm. Go for the music, go for the food, go for the dancing, but just make sure you GO!

International Food Festival –

You want food? You’ve got it! Welcome to the International Food Festival at Victoria Park this coming weekend, June 22-24, 2012, from 11am-11pm. There will be three days of noshing in store for any food aficionados that want to explore Portugal, Serbia, Mexico, Italy, Greece, the Caribbean, China, Poland and more. London promotes green festivals and this one is no different, with manned eco-stations located throughout the park to collect compostables, recyclables and make sure that garbage is streamed accordingly. There will also be vendors on site displaying world craft items, as well as entertainment with an international flair. Get your appetite on London!

Caliente Festival Hispano –

Get your love of Latin on at Victoria Park on June 30th, 2012, from 11am-11pm at the Caliente Festival Hispano! Latinos love to party and this is a great one that you won’t want to miss. There will be Latin food, live music, exciting vendors and a whole lot of Hispanic culture everywhere you look. It will be a full day of festive fun and the best part is, its free!

Sunfest –

Get ready for a whole lot of sun and fun at TD Sunfest 2012, July 5-8 at Victoria Park! If you like music, you have to attend this raucous weekend affair. This year’s lineup promises to delight audiences with over 30 professional world musicians and jazz artists. And if you thought the Food Festival had the market on nibblies, think again, as you can find Jamaican, Indian, Lebanese, Vegetarian and of course Sammy’s Souvlaki among lots of other tasty treats on offer. Vendors will also tempt your pocket-book with everything from drums to t-shirts, and cellphone covers to a wide variety of international artifacts (think carvings, jewellery and more). There will be something for everyone, guaranteed! While those things are nice, it is the music that really makes the weekend shine and also what helped to rank Sunfest as one of the premiere world music festivals in Canada.

Bluesfest –

Lucky number 13 is what Bluesfest is celebrating this year in London from July 13-15, 2012. Head downtown and point yourself towards Clarence and King, where you will find lots of tents and chairs set up for a whole heap of blues. Get ready to be wooed by the likes of the Motor City Allstars, Sugar Ray and the Bluetones, Howling Diablos, Edgar Winter and plenty more musicians. You better believe that you won’t be crying the blues after attending this fabulous festival.

Home County Music & Art Festival –

From July 20th to 22nd, 2012, London brings it home with its own brand of folk at the 39th annual Home County Music & Art Festival. We bring the music back to Canada, as over 25 different artists present their styles of roots, traditional and indie folk/pop that will delight young and old alike. Along with the concerts, there are also afternoon workshops, where you will get to hear the musicians tell stories and share tidbits about their music and life on the road. Of course you know there will be plenty of food stalls, but Home County also boasts over 120 different artisans featuring pottery, stained glass, jewellery, textiles, metal works and more. The hours are Friday 6-11pm, Saturday noon-11pm and Sunday from noon-8:30pm. Admission is by donation. Don’t miss this festival!

Pride London Festival –

This is a festival with a slightly different bent. From July 22-29, 2012 the Pride London Festival celebrates everything gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, transgendered and everything in between. Grab your rainbow flag and head downtown to take in the culture, art and celebration in a spirit of inclusion, unity and awareness. There will be dinners, art shows, karaoke, outdoor festivals and lots more. Check the website for more details.

Rock the Park –

Put your ear plugs in, get your vintage rock tees out and get ready to thrash as Rock the Park 2012 pulls into Harris Park July 26-28, 2012. Gates open at 4pm and the music runs late, featuring classic bands like The Steve Miller Band, Boston, George Thorogood and The Romantics, then getting more progressive with 54-40 and REO Speedwagon, then hitting modern rock with Slash, Bush and I Mother Earth. Need I say more? And while this is a paid venue, the money raised goes towards Bethany’s Hope, so you can rock on knowing that you are supporting a good cause at the same time.

Ribfest –

The meat is on the grille and your presence is required at Victoria Park from August 2-6, 2012 for London Ribfest. This mouth-watering festival is anticipated by upwards of 200,000 people every year, and for a very good reason. The RIBS! Well, there is also the vendors, the music, the rides and a few other food things thrown on the grille. What else are you going to get up to over the Civic Holiday weekend?



So which festivals will you be checking out London?

Are you looking for good food, live music, great deals and a venue that is kid-friendly in London, Ontario this weekend? You are in luck, as this weekend Victoria Park plays host to the 17th annual Kids Expo! Head downtown and follow your ears to the noise of children squealing in delight as they gobble up treats, spin on rides and wander around with armfuls of prizes that they have won in the games area. Or maybe that is the sound of Mom and Dad squealing as they discover fabulous deals at some of the many vendors plying their wares. Regardless of the source, you know the whole family is going to have fun at this event.

Ohbijou performing in London, Ontario during L...

Live Music at Victoria Park Bandshell

It just wouldn’t be summer in London without all of the festivals that go on here. The Kids Expo leads off the entertainment, taking the title of the first major outdoor festival of the summer. It promises to again bring loads of  fun to Victoria Park and London and area families. This year’s festival will be held June 15-17, 2012 with activities running from 11am-9pm. This year, there will be a craft area, karaoke tent, ride-on toys, live entertainment in the bandshell, and 40 food booths (note that all London festivals are eco-friendly, and encourage you to either bring your own plates & cutlery or use the provided compostable or recyclable packaging). There is also a mix of family retail and home exhibits, several shaded areas to rest in, and of course the mini-midway where the kids test their mettle on the rides. And the best part; did I happen to mention that admittance to the park is free? How is that for entertainment at its finest!

Of course, not everyone has kids or wants to drag themselves downtown into a throng of people. Some of you might rather hide out at home lazing by the backyard pool. I certainly can’t blame you there, but maybe I will just remind you that the clematis needs staking and if you haven’t got your tomato cages on by now, you might just miss out on the chance! Oh, and the grass could use cutting when you are done fiddling in the garden. Plus, maybe you should change the washer on that leaky hose while you are at it too. Now where is that Honey-do list, anyway?

Psst, if you need a break from all those house and home projects, remember that the London Fringe Festival is still on, but will be wrapping up this weekend. There are still lots of shows to catch, but it will be done before you know it! Plus there is a Dragon Boat Festival out at Fanshawe Lake on Saturday June 16th, or Carving a Chunk Outta Cancer at Boler Mountain from June 13-17 to check out. And don’t forget Dad on Sunday! He will need his special Father’s Day loving and pampering all day long!  So let go of your to-do list. You know the laundry will always be there waiting for you, so get out and enjoy some summer fun in your neighbourhood this weekend.

Life is for living, so go out and live it!

Well, mixed blessings this week. We got the first long weekend under our belts before water restrictions kicked in. Not exactly a great way to head into another hot weekend, but it seems it can’t be helped. Hope you got the pool filled and ready to go, as until the City of London fixes that broken water main out near Mount Carmel, there won’t be any water to play in. Well, not much anyway, as the city is asking everyone to conserve their water use and is doing their part by shutting down all the splash pads in London.

So how else can one stay cool when the weather man is suggesting more temperatures in the high 20s? Don’t worry. There are lots of ways to keep cool in London, Ontario this weekend!

 

Keeping Cool in the City

GRICKLE GRASS FESTIVAL

If you have an interest in sustainability, you like good food, local beer and spirits, plus you enjoy live music and local art, then this is an event not to be missed. On Saturday, May 26, 2012, the Children’s Museum will host the third annual Grickle Grass Festival. As you might guess by the venue, the festival is a family affair with daytime fun for everyone and adult entertainment after dark.

And how does the Festival promote sustainability you wonder? Well, daytime programming revolves around green transportation, growing your own food, arts & crafts made from recyclable materials and an overall focus on physical activity and wellness. ReForest London will be on hand selling trees outside all day too! Plus, there will be face painting, cooking demos, book giveaways by City Lights Bookstore and so much more.

The daytime activities wrap up at 5pm, but the fun doesn’t stop there. At 8pm the doors to the Children’s Museum open up again, but this time it’s for the adults to enjoy. There will be live music on all floors and dancing just might happen. Work up a sweat to the likes of Skeletones Four, The Allens, Thesis Sahib, Indian Handcrafts and a whole slew of other artists that will be playing throughout the night. If you work up an appetite, don’t fret, as Growing Chefs Ontario will have food on hand, served with reusable plates and cutlery. All proceeds go to Growing Chefs Ontario and the Children’s Museum, so stop by and support this local event!

 

HOMES OF DISTINCTION

How about a little self-guided tour of six beautiful and distinct area homes all in the name of feeding children and nourishing hope? That is the mandate of the May Court of London during their annual Homes of Distinction Tour, and they are hoping that you will support them in this worthy cause. From 10am-4pm on May 26-27, the participating homes will open their doors for you to explore. The Carolinian Winery is also participating this year, with food and refreshments being served throughout the day. All money raised goes towards the May Court School Nutrition program, which provides food to over 90 schools for children in need.

As a real estate agent, I have a natural inclination to want to peek into people’s homes, so you just might find me somewhere along the route this weekend!

 

LABATT BREWERY TOUR

If that all sounds nice, but air conditioning is what you are really seeking, then a tour of the Labatt’s Brewery just might be the ticket! For $10, you get a two-hour tour of the hometown brewery where John Kinder Labatt began his beer empire over 160 years ago. You have to book your tour in advance and wear closed toe shoes, but that is a small price to pay for a souvenir t-shirt, product sampling and the chance to explore the facility that produces over 1 billion bottles of beer annually. That is a far cry from the almost 1,000 bottles that were put out in its first year of production! I am feeling hometown proud just at the thought of all those frothy suds being created just down the street. I just might have to book me a tour today!

Cheers, to another great weekend in London!

Hello Summer!

This weekend we roll into the first long weekend of summer by celebrating Victoria Day on Monday. Canadians itch for the feel of sunshine on their faces after a long winter and this weekend is shaping up to offer lots of it, according to the Weather Network.  I for one hope the weather man is correct this weekend, as many of the local seasonal attractions will be opening their doors for the start of summer fun. I know many of you will be headed out-of-town to open cottages, trailers or looking forward to the first camping trip of the season, but if you are sticking around London, here are a few options of where to go for summer fun this Victoria Day weekend.


LOCAL ACTIVITIES FOR LONG WEEKEND FUN

East Park

Race into summer this weekend with a trip to East Park! You know summer has arrived, when the Go-Karts hit full speed ahead in the east end of London. That’s right, this weekend you can hit the driving range, play a round of golf or mini golf, practice your swing in the batting cages, and of course enjoy everything that the indoor attractions have to offer in the INTENCITY, after spinning around the Go-Kart track. Unless you can convince the powers that be to open up the waterpark, you will have to wait until May 26th, but there is still plenty to keep you busy in the interim. FYI; a season’s pass will get you access to the park anytime you want all summer long. Just saying!

Fanshawe Pioneer Village

As of May 19th, Fanshawe Pioneer Village will also open its doors for their 53rd season. You can wander through the village on a self-guided tour, through an example of rural living in this area from about 1820-1920. You can peek through the schoolhouse or church, watch people dressed in period costume tend the garden or work at the sawmill, or even stop into the general store or cafe to purchase handmade treats, gifts or snacks. On Monday, May 21st celebrate her royal majesty the Queen the old-fashioned way. There will be historical games, speeches and a vintage game of baseball all in celebration of Queen Victoria’s birthday.

Storybook Gardens

The park itself may not close during the off-season, but certain sections of it does. With all the sunshine that is forecasted for this weekend, the re-opening of the splash pad will be a welcome thing to area children and parents alike. Along with the splash pad, the ferris wheel will begin spinning again on May 19th for another season. The train, carousel, swings, elephant ride and super slide are all open for fun in the sun as well. Don’t forget to check out Pirate Island, Old McDonald’s Farm and the maze. If you go, make sure that you stop by to say goodbye to the harbour seals too, as their last weekend at the park is May 26-27, before being relocated to the St Louis Zoo.

Play On!

If you are looking for something a little different this weekend, how does Canada’s favourite pastime of hockey sound? On May 19-20, 2012, all across Canada there will be a street hockey tournament to beat all games. And right here in London, Ontario, players will be grabbing their sticks for London’s 6th annual weekend hockey game. This year, Victoria Park  will host Canada’s largest Sports Festival, with divisions for all ages, genders and skill levels. If  London’s own hockey league, the London Knights, will be there, maybe you should be too! See you there!

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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