Thursday, July 2, 2020

Festivaling with Kids (Part One)


Festivaling with Kids
With the economic times as they are, many families will exchange their expensive “away holidays” for less expensive “local excursions”. Many of these “local excursions” will be to festivals or events that are located close by. Because of this idea, I thought now would be a good time to write about kids and festivals. Most parents know how to “travel with kids” plus there are lots of articles about the subject. So, I won’t talk about “getting there”. Instead I’d like to discuss choosing “kid friendly” festivals and events, how to prepare for them and what to do when you get there. Because this is a fairly lengthy subject, I am dividing it into three parts, “Choosing”, “Preparing” and “Being There”.

Part One – Choosing a Festival
The best way that I know of, to find a “kid friendly” festival or event is through research. I think that the Internet provides the best tools for this research. Most festivals and events have websites. If they don’t, I feel sorry for them. Each website should show you what the festival/event is offering, things such as theme, activities, events, etc. This information should give you a good idea as to how “kid friendly” the event will be. For example, if the event is mainly arts and crafts, it may appeal to you but not to your kids! On the other hand, if it has a midway, music, animals and puppet shows, it likely will appeal to them. Price could also be a big factor, so check out the festival’s admission fees. Most festivals have reduced children’s rates. The distance you need to travel could affect your decision. If your children don’t travel well, long distances may eliminate some events. The festival website will hopefully give you a schedule of events and their times. This information will allow you to plan when to leave home so that you won’t miss any of the events you really want to see. If you don’t find all of the information you want from the website and you still want to go to the event, contact the event organizers by telephone or e-mail and get them to answer any questions you might have. If they don’t respond, it probably isn’t a festival you want to attend. After you have decided on which festival or event you are going to visit, preparation comes next. 
(To be continued – Part Two, Preparing to Visit a Festival)

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Artists’ Series – Marg Lamendeau (Part 2)


It had rained heavily just before the Match started and the fields were pure mud! Marg told me that vendors tried to get through the mud to set up their booths but couldn’t. Festival organizers had to arrange tractor pulled wagons to help. She described the day that she and Kenny had arrived. “We tried walking to our booth area, but every step became harder and harder. We were sinking down into the mud so low that it kept sucking our booths off as we tried to take our steps. Kenny finally had to carry me back to hard ground!” When I met them at the Match, the ground had hardened. The weather, however, had taken its toll! Both Marg and Kenny, when they greeted me, look like they had been competing in a mud wrestling tournament! Fortunately, not too many shows were like that! During the helicon days of print sales, I spent a great deal of time either driving to and from their home in Arnprior or sitting in their kitchen drinking hot tea and munching on a goodie or two! I miss trips to Arnprior and sitting and talking with Marg and Kenny! However, times change and so do our lives. Marg eventually tired of the nomad life and moved off in other directions, while Judi and I left the art and framing business altogether.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Artists’ Series – Marg Lamendeau (Part 1)

This is a series about Canadian artists I have know, and worked with.

I can’t remember the exact circumstances of meeting Marg and Kenny Lamendeau. I think Marg had enquired about becoming an exhibitor at the Cobourg Waterfront Festival in the Lions/Lioness Art Show and Sale. Whatever the circumstances, we formed a closed bond shortly thereafter. Marg became a valued customer and Marg and Kenny became close friends! Marg was one of the top selling artists at the Cobourg Show and was always in the top 5 in sales. Cobourg wasn’t the only show she exhibited at. AS a matter of fact, I think they were at one show or another almost every weekend during the summer and fall months. It was a very tough schedule and one that they tired of after several years on the road. I think the funniest moment in our relationship came when I was delivering a load of freshly framed prints to her at one of the International Plowing Matches.

To be continued in Part 2 

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Choosing Where To Go… (Part 2)


  1. Festival/Event Websites – Most of these calendars have direct links to the different festivals/events that are displayed. So if you find an event that you are interested in, you can go and check out their website.
  2. Review Website – Most website will give you enough details to tell what kind of festival or event it is. Information like costs, location, dates and activities. One note of caution, make sure that you are looking at a current site. Many festivals don’t keep their sites up-to-date or have a different site for each year. Some festivals cancel their event but don’t delete their website. Believe me, it can become very confusing if you don’t pay attention to what you are reading.
  3. Bad Weather – Check the website to see what their weather policy is. If it is an outdoor event, does it run, rain or shine? Many festivals include this information on their website. If not, you might want to check with the organizers. This was especially true last year with all the awful weather we experienced.
  4. Contact Organizers – Where you have any doubt, contact the organizers. Most websites include contact information, e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, etc. If they don’t include this information, I would be very leery of going to the event. There many be nothing wrong, but!
  5. Internet Articles – Using the Search Engine, “Google” (http://www.google.com/), can be very helpful. If you go to “Google” and type in the name of the festival or event you are interested in, the list that Google gives you should not only include the festivals/events website, but will likely include a list of people who have visited the event and have written about it. These articles will give lots of information, good and bad, about the event you are researching. I always read the articles, especially the negative ones, with a “grain of salt”. Anyway, they will at least give you a sense of the event.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Choosing Where To Go… (Part 1)


Going to a festival or event is very personal. Where you decide to go will depend on many factors, interests, location, costs, dates, etc. Finding out about festivals and events can be frustrating. Most people want to get value for money spent. Word of month is probably the best way to find out about an event. It’s also a great way to evaluate an event, especially if you trust the person who makes the recommendation. We hope that you use Ontario Festivals Visited as a source. We are always glad to share our experiences. Unfortunately, we can’t visit every festival or event in Ontario (we wish we could), but there are over 3,000 of them! So, to help you choose, I am going to give you some tips. These are some of the techniques Judi and I use to make our choices.
  1. Event Calendars – There are a number of event calendars available on the internet. Here is where you can find three of them: Ontario Event Directory (https://directory.ontariovisited.ca/); Festivals and Events Ontario (http://www.festivalsandeventsontario.ca/) and Ontario Tourism (http://www.ontariotravel.net/). We check these first to find festivals or events that we might be interested in visiting.
(To be Continued in Part 2)

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Stratford Festival


My earliest memory of the Stratford Festival was when I was a kid in public school! Just getting there was a big adventure! My school friends and I excitedly boarded the school bus and then we were off! Back then it seemed like a really long trip, but in reality, it was only a few hours. I don’t remember much about the play we saw. I am sure it was one of Shakespeare’s. I do, however, remember the box lunch we were served! I know that all the kids really liked it. I had never experienced anything like it. 
Over the years, I have been back to Stratford and the Stratford Festival many times. Stratford is one of my favourite places to visit. The downtown area is very quaint and the Festival Park area is beautiful. Victoria Lake forms the centre of the park with the Festival Theatre overlooking it. The white swans floating effortlessly across the water add to the park’s peace and majesty. There are plenty of options if you decide to stay overnight, from Bed and Breakfasts to quaint inns and everything in between. Of course, staying overnight means “going to the theatre”! The Festival was founded by Tom Patterson in 1953 and has had some of North America’s finest actors perform there. While the Festival’s primary mandate is to present productions of William Shakespeare’s plays, it also products a wide variety of other types of plays. This year’s (2009) plays include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, Westside Story and The Importance of Being Ernest. There are some 14 plays in all. A far cry from when the Festival first started. The number of theatres has increased, as have the number and types of plays. If you enjoy traveling to interesting places and want to experience one of North America’s finest theatres, Stratford and the Stratford Festival is a must! To find out more, visit the Festivals Website at http://www.stratfordfestival.ca/.