Thousands expected for Norwich Nostalgia Days July 3 & 4

By Jennifer Vandermeer, Norwich Gazette/IngersollTimes

Two days worth of activities have been lined up to give residents and visitors lots to do during Norwich's annual Nostalgia Days celebrations July 3 and 4.

The downtown, Legion, Emily Stowe Public School grounds, Norwich and District Museum, conservation area and Harold Bishop Park are all sites for events and activities Friday and Saturday.

On the heels of the township's Canada Day activities July 1, the Nostalgia Days celebration is jam-packed with activities for all ages.

“We're trying to make it so families can spend the whole day, the whole weekend, really, in Norwich” said Optimist member and BIA representative Laura Barker.

The fun starts Friday, July 3 on Main Street in Norwich with displays and vendors, including Amish hand-crafted items, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Norwich and District Museum will have Maple, the robotic cow, on site for those who want to try their hand at milking, and the Grain Farmers Discovery Zone will give families the opportunity to explore a little bit about life on a farm.

Watch for specials offered by the downtown merchants as well.

At 7 p.m. on the Friday, the free family fun events will be at Harold Bishop Park. The Norwich Optimist Club is hosting the Great Family Challenge - a chance for families to get together and participate in interactive challenges and trivia questions to win prizes. Optimist President Gail Dolson said the activities in the park are all new this year.

When the family challenge winds down and dusk begins to set in, bring out your blankets and lawn chairs and enjoy a family movie in the park.

“That's our goal, to get families having fun together,” said Barker.

The action starts all over again Saturday morning, July 4 starting at 8 a.m. with the Optimists and OPP officers and auxiliary annual Kids Fishing Derby. There is an entry fee that includes lunch for the kids at Norwich Conservation Area on North Court Street. Worms will be available, as well as many prizes up for grabs. More than 100 children typically participate in this annual event.

All the activities on Main Street will be up and running again at 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Live music will add to the street festival atmosphere.

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the classic car show, organized by the Norwich BIA, takes over the grounds at Emily Stowe Public School. Admission is free, but there will be donation buckets on the grounds. The cost to bring a classic car for display is by donation. There will be a food booth on site with proceeds to Emily Stowe Public School.

Across Stover Street at the Norwich Legion branch, brunch will be served from 9 a.m. to noon. At noon, Rock the Park takes over the afternoon and into the evening at the Legion with an outdoor beer garden, Junior C hockey team barbecue and entertainment, with free admission.

North of the downtown, at the museum, visitors are invited to the 150-year celebration of cheese from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. From 9:30 to 11:15 a.m., there are tractor games on the museum grounds before the tractor parade leaves the museum at 11:30 a.m. on its way to the Legion for lunch. There are more tractor games back at the museum from 1 to 4 p.m. followed by the judging of the best restored tractor at 4 p.m. All the museum buildings and exhibits will be open and wagon rides are available to get people around town.

The Optimists have activities planned for the entire day at Harold Bishop Park, where the OptiMist splash pad will be open all day. The club has scheduled old-fashioned games and entertainment, including puppet shows and group games. There will also be live entertainment with performances by vogelJoy and Victoria Gydov at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.