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End of Summer Photo4
"Oh no! Not the End of Summer photo!"

End of Summer Memories…

By Gary McWilliams



I’ve got to admit it, I love summer! I always have and always will! So when the end of summer comes, I feel let down. It’s not that I don’t enjoy fall. I do, with all the beautiful fall colours. It’s just that it’s far too short and unpredictable! My love affair with summer began at an early age. Summer swimming at the Thorncrest Village community pool to begin with and then my parents took the whole family to Haliburton and the Matabanick Inn. My mother and I would spend a whole month there, swimming, boating and playing with the inn owner’s son, Donny! What a time we had! Later, my parents purchased the perfect cottage on Lake of Bays, near Baysville (Muskoka). I think my problem (blessing) was that I had just too much fun during the summer months! So much so, that when the summer ended and I had to go back to school! Well, you get the picture. I wasn’t a great student and school just didn’t have the same appeal.

I think that a lot of kids today might see summer differently. I asked my Grandchildren if they were looking forward to the end of summer and going back to school. They all replied “Yes”! Personally, I don’t get it! Maybe I was just extremely lucky and had a great family who really loved the “Good Olde Summertime” and instilled that love of “summer” to their children. Whatever the reason, I am glad for summer and truly sorry that it is over!

That being said, there’s lots to see and do in the fall, and Judi and I are going to make the most of it! Pumpkin Festivals, Apple Orchards and apple pie, Fall Fairs and, of course, Autumn leaves…Hmmm… maybe “FALL” has just become my NEW ”MFTY” (Most Favourite Time of the Year). Here’s to the “good times” of Fall and Fall Colours!

You Might Be Surprised

By Judi “Scoop” McWilliams


It seems the Festival Nomad and I have very different “end of summer” “going back to school” experiences.

There appears to be two distinct thoughts from the kids of today about returning to school. From “apprehensive” and “terrified” to “excited” and “thrilled”. Some kids can’t wait to get back and see all their friends, while others would rather be having fun with SUMMER FUN!

I was in neither scenario. I thrived at school with their athletic programs, artistic programs and musical programs! So, with that in mind, you may not be surprised to learn that not only was I ecstatic to return to school each year, but dreaded leaving for Summer Break in the first place!

To help with my “separation anxiety” from school, I did take advance summer music programs, engaged in all kinds of athletic activities, and was creative with artistic adventures on my own.

The “RING OF THE SCHOOL BELL”, for me, at the end of the school year was extremely sad, the “RING” at the start was elating!

No matter what feeling may be conjured up about going “back to school”, (even for the parents, grandparents, and caregivers), it seems to always be an ADVENTURE!

It is very similar to attending, discovering and embracing Ontario’s many fabulous Festivals, Events, Communities, Heritage Sites, Outdoor Adventures, Attractions, Agricultural events, Destinations and more. …You might not know what to expect … but even if you do … you might still be surprised! As I say, “Embrace Change” … “Embrace Chance” … “Enjoy”!



"Judi, opening the door to ADVENTURE!" 


Oh Canada Eh! Game Answers…

In June, we started to play the Oh Canada Eh! Game. In August 2015, five Questions about Canada have been asked. The following are the Questions with the Answers.

August 3rd, 2015~ (Moreston Heritage Village, Owen Sound Question)
QUESTION: “The builder of this 1843 1 ½ storey log home left both the upstairs and cellar uncompleted. Why?
ANSWER: “They wanted to pay less or avoid taxes.

August 10th, 2015~ (Town of Prescott Question)
QUESTION: “During the War of 1812, soldiers crossed the St. Lawrence River in winter from Canada to the US. What did they do and where did they do it?
ANSWER: “They crossed to Ogdensburg, NY. There the Battle of Ogdensburg took place with the British eventually defeating the Americans and burning their boats and schooners, which were frozen in the ice.

August 17th, 2015~ (Canada Aviation and Space Museum, Ottawa Question)
QUESTION: “Did Alexander Graham Bell have anything to do with Canadian aviation and if so, what did he do?
ANSWER: “Yes, he and others founded the Aerial Experiment Association (A.E.A.).

NOTE ~ an “Oh Canada Eh! Game” player, Fred Hawthorne, had a different answer. Here it is ~ “Alexander Graham Bell designed the Silver Dart which flew at Beddeck Nova Scotia which is on Cape Breton Island. In the town of Beddeck there is a beautiful museum dedicated to the various inventions of Bell. There is a full size working replica, built in Hamilton. It is not an exact replica because it had to meet current aviation specs.

August 24th, 2015~ (Canadian Museum of History, Gatineau, Quebec Question)
QUESTION: “What was this Museum’s name before it was changed to the Canadian Museum of History ?
ANSWER: “It was the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

August 31st, 2015~ (Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa Question))
QUESTION: “What was the largest animal ever known on the planet (earth)?
ANSWER: “It was the Blue Whale.
NOTE ~ you can see the skeleton of a young Blue Whale in the Water Gallery at the Canadian Museum of Nature.

I hope that you enjoy playing the Oh Canada Eh! Game. I’m sure that you’ll knew all the answers. Remember, all of them can be found on the Internet. I’ll let you answers to all the September 2015 questions in our October 2015 INSIDER Newsletter.


Blue Whale

"Dan Smythe of the Canadian Museum of Nature, show us the skelton of a mighty Blue Whale."


Festival Nomad’s Report…

I must say that August was much less hectic than July. Of course, we did embark on a major tour last month! We were, however, busy attending a few events and mainly catching up writing about past visits. If you have been checking on our You Tube Channel, I’ve been creating a number of new videos. Judi is especially pleased with her INSIDE SCOOP video interviews with Joe Corrigan (Lang Pioneer Village Museum) and Jodie Easson (Caledonia Agricultural Society). Joe talks about Lang’s newly restored Jacquard Loom, while Jodie discussed her views on marketing and how the fair community works with kids to enhance the Fair experience. Other new videos include our tours of the Grey Roots Museum & Archives (Owen Sound), the Moreston Heritage Village (Owen Sound) and the 5 Prince Edward County Museums (Ameliasburgh Historical Museum, Wellington Heritage, Macaulay Heritage Park, Rose House Museum and Mariners’ Park Museum) and finally, last month’s tour of Manitoulin Island.


"Fun video taken at the Macaulay Heritage Park in Picton!"

Events in August included the Collingwood Arts and Music Festival, headed by our friend, Yvonne Gibson. This year’s show was a great success. Also on the same weekend, Collingwood held their inaugural Sidelaunch Days festival. A little later, Judi and her "partner in adventure", Lory MacDonald (of Artfest Ontario fame), traveled to the Blue Mountains to the Scenic Caves. Here they enjoyed [?] a day of discovery and adventure! They discovered that they were both afraid of heights and their adventure was walking through the “Treetops” and sliding down a number of VERY long “Ziplines”. They also discovered that they could conquer their fears and could looked forward to new adventures! During the final part of the month we visited the Thornbury Hoedown (Great Fun!) and the Collingwood Farmers’ Market (Lots to See!).

Now it’s September and we’ll have to see what this month brings… fairs, tours, farmers’ markets, galleries and museums. It’s time to go back to school and work, but let’s not forget about going out to events and tours together, as a family! I can smell the “Apple Pies” baking already!


"Welcome to our Manitoulin Island Tour video! Enjoy!"

Two Trustworthy ~ Useful Festival Tips!

By Judi “Scoop” McWilliams

The Festival Nomad and I have written “Festival Tips” in the past. Many check lists are available and useful!

BUT, do you (we) ever follow any of them?

This month, I have Two New Festival Tips for you ~ ones that actually work!

1. Reliable Maps & a Compass!

Our friend, “Lucy”, our GPS traveling companion, tends to “not tell the truth” from time to time. Sometimes the Festival Nomad puts her into the box to let her think about her “miscomputations”!

THE TIP ~ Print out Google Maps (any map) prior to your journey, including alternative routes as a backup; and take the trusted “old fashioned” folding maps.

This tip has come in handy many, many times! Sometimes cell phone or internet connections are not available, so trusting in the printed map and a compass comes in very handy!

We often use the sun to help guide us along the way. Knowing that the sun rises in the west and sets in the east. The compass comes in handy too. Believe it or not, sometimes depending solely on the sun can backfire! NOTE ~ using the sun for directions does not work if there are clouds, rain, and snow blocking the view!

2 .Check the weather report ~ BUT DON’T TRUST IT!

THE TIP ~ Check the weather report for both the area you are traveling to and the Regions you may pass through along the way (especially if it’s a long trip).

~ Be prepared! Pack rain gear ~ better to be prepared then stuck in soggy clothing!

~ Pack extra plastic bags ~ great to store wet gear!

~ Embrace the rain ~ it is amazing how smaller crowds provide access to shorter food lines, and exhibits can be seen without too many people in the way.

~ Pack Flip Flops ~ dry easily

~ Pack extra socks and shoes!

~ Shut the “sunroof” of the car (even if the sun is shining) … rain may come at any time!

It may seem pointless to pack an extra set of clothing, rain gear, warmer clothing, lighter closing, layers, the maps, the compass … but that one time, that one rare time, when “the weather person is wrong”, or “Lucy” (your GPS) “miscomputes”, you will be followed these helpful TIPS! BE PREPARED!


A New Member to the "Festival Nomad Family"...

As many of you know we just completed a trip across Northern Ontario. The trip included a tour of Manitoulin Island, a ferry ride on the Chi-Cheemaun – South Baymouth to Tobermory and a final tour of the Bruce Peninsula. During our tour of the Peninsula, we ran across (not literarily) our new traveling companion, “Giff”. We were so impressed with “Giff” that we asked him to join our “Festival Nomad Family”. “Giff” readily accepted and being a well-traveled “adventurer”, he will, in the future, be writing a new column - “Festival Tips from the Giff File”! We look forward to hear what he has to say. Below is a video introducing our newest “Festival Nomad Family” member.


"Introducing our newest Festival Nomad Family member, Giff!"

“Agri-cation” ~ “Community Growth” ~ “Engaging Youth” ~ “Best Way to Ensure the Future!”

Recently we spoke with Jodie Easson, a member of the Caledonia Agricultural Society. There was a lot of “SCOOP”! We are excited to present this “INSIDE SCOOP” Blog video via our You Tube Channel.

It was a sunny fabulous day at the Village at Blue Mountain. Jodie and her daughter had come the area for a dance competition (her daughter that is), and Jodie was able to devote some time to share her insights, knowledge, and great sense of humour with us.



"Jodie Easson talks marketing and youth participation with Judi."


The following is an Excerpt from our Interview:

Engaging the Family … (During our interview we learned about some of the Caledonia Agricultural Society’s initiatives for engaging the Youth of our society.)

  • Youth are our future! Probably the success of the Fair or any event in a community for that matter, are the Volunteers!
  • Interesting challenge … everyone wants kids involved. It’s always tough to balance with kids. It’s can’t all be the fun and gravy jobs, but it can’t be the jobs that nobody else wants either. You need to give the kids a sense of ownership.

Jodie shares with us … “We tried once to create a committee for just the kids and it was difficult to get them to put their own ideas forward, mostly because they didn’t have a framework.  We’ve gone to more a direct mentorship. Kids can get involved in whatever committees they want to, with things that interest them, and they also help in general”.

  • You need to empower them and you also need to listen to them to their ideas. You need to make it fun! There is such a temptation every time someone says something, to say it didn’t work. You have to frame it in a way that the kids will respond.
  • It is especially important with kids to reiterate that you have tried it a certain way, but maybe they have a different spin on it, perhaps their idea can bring something new that others have not yet realized.
  • You need a special place for the youth. The directors had a place to relax, so the Caledonia Agricultural Society took the initiative to create a Kids Lounge! They gave the Youth their own space, own sense of ownership, a place to relax, to hang out with their friends and make new friendships. It definitely helps to make the Fair a friendly place to go.

We hope you will visit our 7 Part “THE INSIDE SCOOP” series with Caledonia Agricultural Society.

There’s Great information for any Festival, Event, Organization, and Associations! Lots to learn! Check out THE INSIDE SCOOP.


"Part 1 of 7 ~ INSIDE SCOOP interview with Jodie Easson."