Communities across Norfolk celebrate county's culture
Anthony Williams, 10, rolls a wheel of cheese at The Second Mouse Cheesetique during the Norfolk 150 Celebration of Culture in Delhi Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. JACOB ROBINSON/Simcoe Reformer
No town was ignored during the Norfolk 150 Celebration of Culture.
This weekend marked the first time all of the county's five urban areas collaborated for a joint event, one showcasing many of the things Norfolk has to offer.
Among the events hosted in Delhi was a 5 kilometre fun run through town with six stops, all including an activity related to the history of the area.
“As soon as I heard about it I wanted to take part,” said Teresa Wybo of The Second Mouse Cheesetique, second stop on the run. “Delhi needs something like this – we used to do stuff like this all the time and we haven't been able to do it for a long time so it's really nice and you can see, everybody is happy.”
“I don't even care if I'm in here (the shop) working, I want to be (outside) watching everyone smile and have fun.”
The first stop on the run gave residents a chance to hand tie tobacco at E & E McLaughlin Ltd., an opportunity presented by the Multicultural Heritage Association of Norfolk.
Ashley Stillmack saw a learning opportunity with the run for her two sons Ethan, 5, and Callen, 2,
“It's a rare Saturday off and it looked like it would be a good weekend. I care about history - whether they do or not I don't know,” she laughed.
“We always wonder what's growing in the fields and this is the first time we've actually got to touch a leaf which is cool.”
The goal for the gathering was to raise at least $25,000, which will be re-invested in a newly established 'arts and culture endowment fund' through the Norfolk Community Foundation. Other events taking place throughout the county included an antique auction, Vimy Ridge memorial event and quilt making workshop.
Like Delhi's celebration, Waterford's included a healthy dose of live music. The main event was a dinner and dance held on Alice St. Saturday night. Chef Tracy Winkworth and her team provided almost 100 folks with a myriad of local offerings that were paired with area wine and beer.
“Things have gone very smoothly,” said Claire Senko, head organizer for the Waterford portion of the event. “I have a very competent team of people and it's just a pleasure to work with Tanya Logan ... I don't have to worry about anything when she's on the task.”
Local bands and performers braved scorching temperatures to entertain crowds throughout the day and into the evening. The bill ranged from seasoned veterans to youngsters just learning the ropes.
“I think it's just as important for the artists and musicians as it is for the audience,” Senko explained. “It's a neat experience bringing music outside, busking is cool and interactive and everything about this event is kind of focused around the outdoors, food and bringing community together on the street so it just works, it just fits.”
Adam Veri, project manager for the countywide event, said that while some things will need to be ironed out for a possible return next year, he was quite pleased with the first run.
“Overall the event was great,” he said Monday. “There's a lot of things that certainly exceeded the expectations that I had and my team had. When we proposed this to the province we agreed to have 15 sites and we ended up with close to 40, so that was good in many ways – it showed there was a lot of participation and enthusiasm.
“To look at one event or one section on its own, some were great, some were OK and some were not as great, but overall it was tremendous when you put it all together.”
One of the disappointments was in Simcoe. The company hired to set up a tent, stage and sound system in downtown early Saturday didn't do so until later in the day. That meant the Waterford Old Town Hall Kids had to do a dress rehearsal of their show at the gazebo in Lynnwood Park. The group also held a show in Waterford Sunday that went off without a hitch.
Veri said the company hired to do the setup will be changed if the event is held next year.
“The Simcoe thing is a bummer because that's a very glaringly obvious problem – in the most populated community with so many of the partners (nearby) and to have that be the glaring thing, it stands out,” he said. “But 95 per cent was great. Waterford and Delhi were incredible, Port Rowan was busy, lots of kids, good family stuff, it was exceptional there too. Port Dover was steady so there's four communities that pulled it off gangbusters more or less ... and we had some really good things happen in Simcoe too.”