Thursday, February 20, 2020

Attention Animal Lovers…


It’s amazing how well festivals and animal fit together! I had never really thought about it until I started examining festivals and their common links. The more I thought about, the more I realized how large a part animal played in the majority of festivals Judi and I had visited. Out of the last 10 festivals visited, 7 had had animals’ involvement in one form or another! I’ll quickly go down the list. The Fur Trade Re-enactment at Lang Pioneer Village had a number of farm animals plus a horse drawn wagon ride. The Old Time Fiddle Championships in Shelburne had a number of horses in their parade. The Kingston Sheep Dog Trials was really animal oriented! There were, of course, dogs (Border Collies) and sheep, but they also included 2 horse drawn shuttle wagons, a birds of prey demonstration by the Canadian Raptor Conservancy plus two other animal presentations, one by Jungle Cat World and the other by Little Ray’s Reptiles! The Rural Ramble Farm Tour featured numerous farm animals including cows, pigs, chickens, sheep and horses. At the Fort Henry Sunset Ceremony, the Fort Henry Guard’s mascot is a goat named David IX. The Orono Fair had animals galore, chicken (lot of them!), ducks, rabbits, cows and horses! Finally, at the Dine and Shine in Lang Pioneer village, not only did they have their traditional horse drawn wagon ride, but they had their own unique brush with wildlife! Just as Village Museum Manager, Joe Corrigan, was about to welcome the attendees, a flock of Canada Geese flew over the event giving us all a very loud, but appreciated Canadian “fly-by” (NASCAR eat your hearts out!)! So, if you are an animal lover, Ontario festivals and events are a must for you!

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Unplugged…


We have been to a number of events that have had loud sounds, such as an air show, several military re-enactments with cannons, a military band performance and a “Rock” concert. They were all very enjoyable, but to a sensitive ear, loud! 

So, what’s the solution? Ear plugs, of course! The only problem with ear plugs is that they can really mute the sounds, both good and bad. If you are close to a cannon being fired off, good! If you are listening to a really great, but loud, music group, bad! Judi and my older grandson have sensitive ears, so ear plugs work for them, especially at battle re-enactments. I guess it’s a matter of choice and it depends on your “sound pain” threshold. Here is an example of what I mean. Judi and I attended a “Rock” concert in Peterborough. A Rock group called “Sweet” was the featured performance. We had the opportunity to hear them practice in the afternoon, so we knew they were going to be loud at the concert, VERY loud! During the concert we were going to be seated near the stage and loudspeakers. The festival organizer offered each of us ear plugs. We gratefully accepted. Judi was very apprehensive and decided to sit at the back of the park, away from the stage and the loudspeakers! I stayed at the front. The concert opened with a Toronto based group, Hello Operator. Although they were fairly loud, they weren’t “ear plug” loud! Then Sweet took the stage. The sound level went up several decibels! I listened to their first song without the aid of ear plugs.  When they started the second song, it was even louder! I put the ear plugs in! I couldn’t leave them in! They muted the music too much and, after all, I was there to listen to a “Rock” concert! I knew what to expect when it started and I wanted to enjoy “Sweet” and their music! By the end of the concert my ears were buzzing, but I had a great time!

Pardon! I can’t hear you! Did you say something?

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Staring Down the Competition…


I always have great fun when I go to a fundraising auction dinner. Most have good basic food and an atmosphere that is happy and festive. But the real fun is people watching! During a “silent” auction it’s fascinating watching people’s strategy! Some people “sneak up” to the bid sheet, look around to see if anyone is looking and then quickly write down their bid. If a bidding number is available, they use it rather then disclosing their name! While some bidders may be “sneaky”, others are “bold”! They walk up to the bid sheet, look around defying anyone to challenge them and then boldly scrawl their name on the sheet! Then they look around again telling anyone who will listen that they will “win” this item! Once an initial bid has been made, most bidders become very possessive when it comes to “their” item! They tell their friends that it’s “theirs”. They jump up when anyone goes near “their” item! If someone has the audacity to bid against them, they become quite defensive even “stock’ the offender in extreme cases. And, if they lose, they become pouty and withdrawn (at least for a little while)! It’s all in great fun and for a worthy cause. Live auctions can be even more entertaining. Many times, it’s like a boxing match! At first “opponents” just spare, checking each other out. They make little bids and then stop as though they are giving up, out of the bidding. Then they start again, bidding in a flurry! Finally, one of them many “throws” the “big”. They step up the bid so high that they “knock” their opponent out of the bidding! Sometime the “big bid” doesn’t knock the opponent out. They just become more stubborn and start to borough in. The bids go higher and higher until someone flinches and a winner is declared! The beautiful thing about this type of bidding is that everyone wins! The audience wins because the “fight” has been great entertainment! The organizers win because the item that was bid on brings a big profit for their cause! The winning bidder wins because he/she won! The losing bidder wins because he/she didn’t! At the end of the evening everyone goes home happy because they know that they have helped a “great cause”!

Thursday, January 30, 2020

The Best Laid Plans... Part 2


We were fortunate with these two destinations. Both had multiple performances, so if we missed one, we could reschedule. We weren’t so lucky with Canadian Open Fiddle Championships in Shelburne! Even tough the weatherman suggested that there was a possibility of showers, we decided to make the trip to Shelburne. It was an event we really didn’t want to miss! So we packed our car, picked up our 4 year old granddaughter and started off on our 3 hour plus trip. The weather was sunny and bright when we started off. However, as we progress towards our destination the skies grew cloudy and then dark! We were three quarters of the way there, so we were committed. Besides, I am the perpetual optimist. The weather was sure to clear up? When we arrive the rain was coming down in buckets! Undaunted the three of up climb out of our car, bundled up and walked to the main street. Other brave souls we lined up on the street, so we joined them! After a short while, the parade started and it, of course, was a long one! The rain was still pouring down! By the end of the parade we all looked like drowned rats! The rain was letting up a little, but it hadn’t stopped. We headed back to our car. We looked for the other planned activities but could find them. Our guess, since they were outdoor activities, that they were cancelled. Even with all the rain, the parade was great and our granddaughter loved it. There were many puddles to jump in and lots of thrown candy to pick up! It was disappointing to travel that far and not to see the whole event! Oh well, “the best laid plans”!

Thursday, January 23, 2020

The Best Laid Plans… (Part 1)

Judi and I schedule our festival visits a month or two in advance. We try to visit as many Ontario festivals and events as possible! It is sometimes difficult to keep up our schedule. Rain and thunderstorms are the main cause of cancellations. Once we planned to visit the Peterborough and three times we had to cancel. The first due to illness and the other two due to rain and thunderstorms! The first planned visit was successful and we had a great “rockin’” time! Perseverance, as they say, pays off! Then there was our planned visit to Fort Henry. We made arrangements to visit their famous Tattoo performance. In Cobourg, it was the worst storm of the last 10 years. Record amounts of water fell that day. It was hard to justify a 3-hour trip (there and back) when the chances of the event being cancelled were very high, so we cancelled. It took two attempts to finally visit the Fort. On the second attempt the weather was fantastic as was the Sunset Ceremony that we were privileged to enjoy! 

To be continued in Part 2...

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Economical Travel…


With the high price of gas these days, it’s hard for the “Festival Nomad” to travel inexpensively. Unfortunately, unlike my desert namesakes, I don’t ride (drive) a camel that can go forever on a tank of “water”! Although my vehicle (so the manufacturer says) is fairly gas efficient, it’s not perfect and neither is my driving. I’m like many people, I want to get there yesterday! I usually push the envelop by driving 20 km above the highway speed limit. That is, I did this until a while weeks ago. Judi and I had scheduled a visit to Morrisburg and Upper Canada Village. Taking the 401 Highway, it’s about a 6 hour trip. For this trip I decided to experiment with my speed. As soon as we got in to the highway, I set the cruise control for 103 kms. It was weird being passed by so many people, especially the big 18 wheelers! Yes, it did take us a little longer, but our gas mileage was terrific! I couldn’t believe we had gone so far on so little gas! We did the same on the way back, only this time I opened the windows and turned off the air conditioning. I continue driving at the lower speeds until my gas tank was almost empty. I had increased my mileage per tank by about 40% or in my case by 250 kms. I couldn’t believe the final results! I mentioned my experiment to a car expert friend and he said he wasn’t surprised by the results, although he didn’t think turning off the air conditioner and opening the windows was that helpful. He felt that the air drag caused by open window would offset any cost savings. I continued the experiment on all subsequent travels with similar results! My experiment has now turned into a way of life (driving that is)! So if you are still driving fast, “honk” as you pass me!

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Magic of Cameras! Part 2


Now, having a camera is one thing, using it properly is another! I am still a big amateur in this area, especially when trying to take video shots. A few months ago I had the great idea to include video clips in my Ontario Festivals Visited (www.ontariofestivalsvisited.ca) articles. I thought that this would add a new dimension to my depiction of the festivals and events Judi and I visit. The problem is. I still haven’t mastered keeping my hands still as I am videoing. To make matters worse, my zooming in and out isn’t consistent and I’m having problems focusing long distance shots! I know I will improve over time, but it is frustrating because I want everything to be perfect! My other camera “Challenges” include forgetting to take the camera lens cap off before shooting, forgetting to change the shooting modes from still to movie and my favourite, trying not to tip over when videoing fast moving aerobatic airplanes at an air show, especially when they are traveling at Mach 3! 
This happened at the Canadian Aviation Expo during their air show. I was videoing three- time U.S. National Aerobatic Champion, Patty Wagstaff. I was doing fine until Patty came over us at full speed. I was so caught up in videoing her I almost toppled over. If my son-in-law hadn’t been there to catch me, I would have fallen straight on to my behind! I did get some great shots though! Photographing can be a dangerous business! 
So, if you see someone fiddling with their camera at a festival, it’s probably me! If you know anything about cameras, stop and say hello and then HELP ME!