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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!

3, 2, 1…
Happy New Year!

That’s right, we have reached the tail end of 2012. December 21st, be darned. We won’t see the end of the world, just the end of the year in a few day’s time. And what are your plans to ring in the New Year this year; noise makers with friends or family at home? Will you be heading out to one of London’s hot spots to sing out the countdown with a crowd? Or does 2012 end when you tuck yourself into bed at 9 pm and the new year begin with the sun rising the next day? Whatever you have planned, I hope you enjoy every last-minute of 2012 and cherish the new year to come.

If you are still undecided about how to ring in the new year and set on heading out to do something, why not consider these options right here in London, Ontario;

RINGING IN THE NEW YEAR IN LONDON

I am always a fan of free events, so let’s start with a Rockin New Year’s Eve at Victoria Park. Activities begin at 5 pm with free skating until 8 pm. Hot chocolate and coffee will also be available from 5 pm to midnight. Get the party started with hats, party favours and balloon creations between 6 to 9 pm. Children’s entertainment kicks off at 7:15 pm with My Perfect Princess Party, followed by Cassandra Hodgins at 8 pm. To add a little pizzazz to the evening for the younger set, who might not make it til midnight, fireworks will be lit at 9 pm (weather permitting).

That isn’t the end of the evening for all by a long shot though. At 9:15 pm, U-Turn takes the stage, followed by Spirit of the West at 10:40 pm. Any adults that show up after the kids head to bed won’t be disappointed at missing the earlier fireworks, as there will be more fire in the sky at midnight once the countdown reaches the pinnacle of 2013. I’m sure it will be an evening to remember for all who attend, so keep it in mind for your new year’s gathering!

 

New Year's at Noon

New Year’s at Noon

If your little ones couldn’t possible make it to midnight and 9 pm is stretching their bounds as well, don’t let them get bent out of shape that they will miss out on all the fun. How does New Year’s at Noon at the Children’s Museum sound? Pretty good for the youngest set, I’d bet. There will be live entertainment, dancing, face painting, noise makers, hats and a balloon drop at noon to ring in the New Year for kids and their families. There is a $3 surcharge on top of normal entrance fees. Also note that the museum will close at 2 pm on December 31st, so get your playing in early!

 

If you are into the bar scene, December 31st has to be the best night to get out all year. Every bar imaginable will have some kind of festivities going on. The London Music Club will be rocking with Yuri Pool (of the McCartney years) and the LMC All-Star Band, plus buffet, champagne toast and dancing the night away. Jump on a party bus at Jim Bob Ray’s and go on a club crawl for a New Year’s Eve Extravaganza! With no cover or line-ups and entrance to four of London’s hottest clubs, you are guaranteed a fabulous New Year’s party. Another New Year’s Eve 2013 Club Crawl starts at the London Tap House and takes in Lavish Nightclub and Up On Carling. Forget your car keys and jump on the bus for all the fun you can handle.

Yuk Yuk's Logo.

Even the Hilton Hotel is getting in on the New Year’s action. They are teaming up with Fresh FM for their 8th Annual New Year’s bash, including a chocolate lover’s dessert and coffee bar, plus party favours of course. Doors open at 8:30 and the party goes late! For those looking to grab a bite to eat beforehand, you can take in their New Year’s Eve buffet (think seafood, beef, pork, salmon, salad, fruit, and more) at 5pm for $39.95. Don’t forget the annual New Year’s parties at the Western Fair District. If you are lucky enough to have bought your tickets early to the 60s/70s Dance party or Top of the Fair Dinner and Live Racing, good for you, as they are now sold out, but for those that aren’t as organized, you can still buy tickets to the Yuk Yuk’s Dinner and Show, Family Skate, Buckin in the New Year Rodeo or Live Music at the OLG Slots. That’s a whole lot of fun to choose from and all at one great venue.

 

Wherever you end up, I hope that you have a fabulous time ringing in 2013. Happy New Year!

Lights, camera, Action!

Christmas Display at Victoria Park

I’m ready for my closeup now. A closeup view of the Christmas lights in Victoria Park, that is! If you have been waiting for a glimpse of the festive display in downtown London, Ontario, you need wait no longer. The annual Lighting of the Lights in Victoria Park is set for tomorrow, Friday, November 30th with activities getting underway at 6:15 pm. There will be carolers  a variety of festive displays, over 75,000 lights, plus Santa’s mailbox will be out so that anxious children can get their letters sent off to the big guy dressed in red! The countdown to lighting starts at 6:50 pm, so get there early!

The lights will be illuminated every night from December 1st through to January 1st, 2013, from 5:30-11 pm. You can view them from the public skating rink, which is open all winter (weather-pending) from 10 am-10 pm. If you want a bird’s-eye view, you can also head up to the Promenade Deck at City Hall from 7-11 pm. It will be open to the public nightly, except on  December 3, 4, 11, 17, 18 25, 26, 31 and January 1st, 2013.

 

Christmas Tree in Wortley Village

Speaking of lights, there are some already lit just down the road from the downtown core, in Wortley Village. Well, they’re not quite lit just yet. In fact, the beautiful tree you see on the left there is still in need of a decoration or two, and the folks from the Old South Business Association are in need of your help. If you have time tomorrow, they are asking for volunteers to  grab decorations from the Antique store across the street and get decorating. Time is of the essence, as on Saturday, there will be plenty of action in the village.

Yes, the tree needs to be decorated for Christmas in the Village, on December 1st, 2012. When the families show up for breakfast with Santa at 9:30 am, they will be expecting to see Wortley Village decked out in its finest festive garb. Breakfast with Santa will be held in Landon Library, from 9:30-11:30 am. There is so much more to see and do during Christmas in the Village though. There will be horse and buggy rides from 10:30 am -2 pm, the Christmas bus from 1-4 pm, Passport to Christmas from 10 am-4 pm, Pet Portraits with Father Christmas from 2-4 pm and of course the official lighting of the tree at 4:30 pm. Come out for the music, merriment and memories that you will build this Saturday.

 

And if  you have been waiting for December to get your own Christmas lights up, now is the time. There are only 25 days til Christmas my friends. Merry Christmas!

Get ready! It will be a busy weekend in London, Ontario this week. There will be cake, celebrations, commiseration and even Chantal to check out! What does that mean exactly? Let’s take a look!

A LOOK AT LONDON EVENTS THIS WEEKEND

Homemade for the Holidays

Everyone loves cake, right? Well, sweet-toothed Londoners are in for a major treat come 7 pm on November 11th, 2012. None other than The Cake Boss himself, Mr Buddy Valastro, will be steaming into town with his Homemade for the Holidays Tour. Centennial Hall will hosting his cake decorating extravaganza and lucky Londoners are the first stop on the tour list for this TLC celebrity.

Santa Claus in parade, in Toronto

Santa Claus Parade

Do you know who else is coming to town? Well, you better not pout. You better not cry. You better not shout. I’m telling you why…

The Big Guy will be driving his eight tiny reindeer into town this Saturday, November 10th with the lead-off to events starting at 6 pm. That’s right, Santa is coming to town for the 56th annual Santa Claus Parade! The parade begins at Egerton and Dundas, and winds its way through downtown ending at Dundas and Ridout St. Along with all the bands, floats and of course Santa, there will parade officials collecting non-perishable food, new teddy bears and toonies for the toonie toss collection. Of course other donations are gladly accepted, with charities like the London Salvation Army, Shriners, My Sister’s Place and Women’s Rural Resource Centre benefiting from your generousity. Don’t forget your letters to Santa as well!

Chantal Kreviazuk at the Red Hot Weekend

Speaking of Red, there is someone else coming to town that is Red Hot. She might not have the same clout as the jolly man in red, but she does packs a wallop in the vocal department. Chantal Kreviazuk will be heading to London this week with Orchestra London as part of their Red Hot Weekends. She will be at Centennial Hall on November 9th and 10th, 2012 at 8 pm. This is the two-time Juno award winners début in London, so get your tickets before they are gone!

Lest We Forget

It won’t be all laughs and giggles this weekend though, I’m afraid. The weekend will wind down with a more serious note on Sunday November 11th, beginning at 11:11 am for the annual Remembrance Day Ceremonies at the Cenotaph in Victoria Park. There will already have been a nod to the veteran’s who served during the Santa Claus Parade (theme this year is Lest We Forget). As the lonely bugle cries, everyone present will also bow their heads in remembrance of all those that have fought to protect this great country of ours – Canada. This is a free event, but donations are always more than welcome and go to a good cause. So remember to pick up your poppies and head down early to make sure you find a space to pay your respects to all that have offered their lives and services for the good of our freedom and country. It is the least we can all do.

How about a feel good moment…

I love me
I love you
I love and support the world…

Ah, now that is a nice way to step into the weekend. If you want to continue to love and support yourself and the world around you, I know of some awesome events in London, Ontario that will help you to love yourself even more, if you decide to take part this weekend.
 

FEEL GOOD WEEKEND PLANS

Shall we start with loving you? How about supporting a tobacco-free event, that works to promote smoke-free movies while still packing a punch in the entertainment department. What better film to watch than “The Lorax“, a film based on the Dr. Seuss book about the power that one person can have to change the world for the better. The Middlesex-London Health Unit, the YMCA and the Canadian Cancer Society all want to see people work harder to try to make themselves healthier. That is why they are hosting this Tobacco-Free Movie Night at Victoria Park, on Friday, September 21, 2012 with activities starting at 7pm. Along with showing the feature-length animated movie at dusk, they will also have face painting, interactive games and more. This is a family friendly event that sends a message that YOU are important and you matter. Don’t forget your folding chairs!

 

If you would like a classier event to attend on Friday night, while still supporting the community and the many people within it, I have a spectacular event to suggest for you. Get ready to get social and sexy at The Little Black Dress Event at the Music Hall (185 Queens Ave) on Friday, September 21, 2012. Doors open at 6pm, for this fabulous affair that supports Wellspring, a cancer support centre that welcomes individuals, family and support people of those living with cancer. You can get out, strut your stuff and make a difference in the lives of the many people who struggle with the effects of a cancer diagnosis every day. All of the proceeds from the evening go to this wonderful organization that offers programs, peer support and so much more to this charitable organization that receives no government funding, instead supported through the generosity of donors. So slip on those heels and grab your pocketbook, as there will be a fashion show, food, dancing, a silent  and live auction to enjoy. This event does make a difference!

Another event that benefits the whole world is going on all weekend at 152 Wharncliffe Rd S. From 9:30am on Friday, September 21, 2012 through til closing at 5pm on September 22nd, Mac Outpost will be hosting a Recycling Event for your old technology. It doesn’t have to be a Mac and it doesn’t even have to work! Bring your cables, printers, monitors, scanners and more. The good folks at the Mac Outlet just want to rid the world of unwanted computers and their accompanying equipment in a safe and environmentally friendly way. Even better, the first 50 recyclers through the door will receive a free T-shirt.

See, now you have even more reasons to love you! You could even push the envelope and top it off with some tree planting at Byron View Park (2225 Colonel Talbot Dr) from 1-4 pm on Saturday, September 22, 2012. ReForest London is back into tree planting mode again after a long hot summer. They plan to plant 431 trees on Saturday. With your help, of course! If you can’t make it then, there will be lots more opportunities to plant native trees and shrubs this fall. Check their website for details on where and when. Trees are just plain good for pretty much everything; the air, earth, water and of course you!

How are you going to feel good this weekend?

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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