Monday, September 17, 2018

Diesel Truck Pull

The excitement in a local town fair is often found outside the blinking lights and games of chance of the midway. The dirt track is home to pulling of all kinds, from tiny garden tractors, to draft horses and to the diesel highway and 4X4 pickup trucks.
Pulling large, special purpose sleds, full of concrete blocks that move up towards the sled's front wheels, becoming heavier as the sled moves down the track, making the pull ever harder as it slowly moves forward. After a certain point the sled moves no more and sometimes the difference in pulls has the winner taking the ribbon with a difference of only a foot or two.

A pickup moves into position at the front of the sled

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Ontario Fall Fairs 2018

Bright lights and loud music seem like the opposite of small town living, but when the midway rolls into town and sets up in the local park, the only question on everyone's mind is - do I really want to go faster?
The answer my friend is to crank up the music and put the pedal to the metal. The CNE came to a close on the Labour Day long weekend which officially ends summer, however Fall doesn't start until the fair comes to town. And from Acton to Woodbridge the Fall fair season lasts till mid-October.
Getting the track ready for the tractor pulls
It takes about a week for the carnies to show up, set up the rides and concessions and put on the weekend festivities, usually starting on the Friday and finishing on Sunday. On the days before the fair opens a steady stream of locals show up with crafts, cooking and hobbies to enter into the various contests, hoping to take home a ribbon and a couple bucks in prizes. Young ladies enter Miss Small Town Fair and tiny babies gurgle during baby contests.
Berry Go Round
Fun House carictures
Visitors check out the fair setup

Many small fairs also feature agricultural competitions like the horse pulls, poultry, beef and dairy cattle competitions. Otherwise, if you want nail biting excitement it is time to watch some tractor and truck pulls. These photos are from the Acton Fall Fair 2018.

See more of the midway at night and into the day after the jump.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Meaford Scarecrow Invasion and Family Festival

Hundreds of scarecrows line the streets of the small town of Meaford along the southern edge of Georgian Bay between Collingwood and the Bruce Peninsula. The stuffed mannequins hang from streetlights and are propped up along the main street (Sykes Street) and down into the harbour area as part of the invasion of scarecrows which takes place from mid September to mid October.

The Meaford scarecrows started in 1996 and includes a 6pm parade on Friday, September 28 and a family festival and farmers market.

The Meaford Town Jail (the big apple) is holding Paul Newman and Robert Redford scarecrows. The 'other' big apple tourism booth is an homage to the surrounding region which produces about a quarter of Ontario's apple harvest. The booth is 15 feet in diameter and is one of Ontario's large roadside attractions. Meaford is also home to the World's largest porch swing, however it is really not accessible and frankly, not worth the trip.
Near the big apple is a bronze statue of Schubird, a scarecrow made in honour of the Scarecrow Invasion and Family Festival. Someone had stolen the bird that sits on his shoulder in August of 2017. In May of 2018 they recast the bronze bird and replaced the bird on the stature.

Monday, September 10, 2018

A trip to the peninsula

Temperatures dropped more than ten degrees on the September 7-9, 2018 weekend in the Bruce Peninsula. It went from temperatures in the 30s to highs of 16 degrees Celsius and the wind picked up on Georgian Bay at the entrance to Lake Huron. Waves picking up white caps caused all the fleets of tourist boats running in Tobermory to shut down. No run to Flowerpot Island, no shipwreck cruises and definitely no kayaking in the cool blue and green waters of Georgian Bay.
Even in the now off-season, the parking in downtown Tobermory was slim pickings as tourists filled the small town, boat-less as the ships weren't running, looking through tiny shops and eating in the area restaurants. One boat did run, the stately ferry MS Chi-Cheemaun still picked up passengers and vehicles for the run between Tobermory and Manitoulin Island.
MS Chi-Cheemaun coming into the Port of Tobermory
Welcome to Sauble Beach
the fire burns down to embers

Instead we stayed in Sauble Falls Provincial Park and ventured to to the Huron coast, which was much calmer compared to Tobermory, and enjoyed the sandy stretch of Sauble Beach. Parking after Labour Day in the beach town is free now, so enjoy the beach at a cheaper cost. We parked at the northern edge of Sauble Beach, within site of the mouth of Sauble River, and pulled our kayaks to the beach, put on our pirate hats and grabbed our foam swords. The shallow waters of Lake Huron were pleasantly warm along the waters edge and we began our kayaking voyage up the river.
Sauble River leading up from the Great Lake is 3.25 kilometers to the cascading waters of Sauble Falls, which is also right beside the Provincial Park of the same name. The waters are home to several fishing birds who seem to not mind humans near them, birds like the white egret, blue heron and comorant. The kayak trip takes about an hour each way and you can play in the falls and find a bathroom along the river's edge.
Posing with the statue of Willie

The great sword battle is joined

It was a weekend of fun and exploration, wearing extra layers of clothing and huddling by the evening's fire. On the way back home we were looking for attractions to stop and check out - like Wiarton Willie (still didn't see the furry little guy yet), most were a bust like the biggest porch swing (hiding out within partial view of the road, not accessible) and we missed the tiny church, although we passed the tiniest cemetery on the way up.

Sunday, September 02, 2018

Toronto BuskerFest 2018

Continuing in Woodbine Park from August 30 to September 3, 2018 the busker festival has expanded to fill the large park in the Beach area. Food trucks, a Mac & Cheese Festival, stages and performance areas as well as a midway bring in thousands of people to catch the magic that happens when street performers captivate their audiences. Jenny Jupiter is pictured at top.
Performer Hanger? from Italy

Local buskers mix with buskers from around the world as they join the talent making stops at the large 4-day festival. From the BuskerFest website, "What many spectators don't realize is that this world class festival not only supports a local charitable organization, Epilepsy Toronto, it is actually organized and run by us as our largest fund raiser of the year. "We wanted to create a unique and memorable experience that brought epilepsy out of the shadows and into the public eye; an entertainment extravaganza that supports a greater purpose in aid of people with epilepsy and their families," says Geoff Bobb, Executive Director of Epilepsy Toronto. "One in every 100 Canadians experiences some form of epilepsy and this amazing festival is the single-largest fundraiser for Epilepsy Toronto and the largest epilepsy event in the universe!”
Hala on Stilts

The hours are Friday, August 31, Noon – 11pm; Saturday, September 1, 11am – 11pm; Sunday, September 2 11am – 10pm and Monday, September 3, 11am – 8pm. There is even a licenced adult beverage area.

See more pics after the jump.

Toronto Fan Expo 2018

Bringing together fan culture in Canada for 24 years, the annual exposition is for lovers of comics, sci-fi, horror, anime, gaming and of course cosplay. It started as a simple comic book convention and now is a mega, 4-day event that brings some of the top stars of the various genres to meet fans up close for autographs and photo opportunities.
You can find plenty of artists and vendors out on the expo floor with over 750,000 square feet in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre - they use both the north and south buildings, and still it is not enough room when you are wandering the aisles winding through the crowds packed into the centre. The show runs from August 30 to September 2, 2018 (Fan Expo Hours - Thurs: 4:00PM-9:00PM, Fri: 10:00AM-7:00PM, Sat: 10:00AM-7:00PM, Sun: 10:00AM-5:00PM).

Ticket prices at the door run from $25 for Thursday, up to the maximum price of $60 on Saturday.

See more cosplay photos after the jump.

Saturday, September 01, 2018

Toronto's CIAS 2018 Air Show

The Canadian National Exhibition's aerial show comes to the skies just outside the inner harbour of Lake Ontario, to the west of Ontario Place. Starting Saturday, September 1 and finishing on the Labour Day Monday from noon-3pm daily the show features some of the best acrobatic talent in the world.
 A Snowbird in the wild
A two-star American General
CF18 demonstration jet

The order of planes is as follows.

United States Air Force Thunderbirds
Mike Wiskus - Pitts
Kyle Fowler - Long EZE
Gord Price - Yak 50
CF18 Hornet
USAF F- 35/P51 Mustang (heritage flights)
Martin Hivon - Christian Eagle
Mike Tryggvason - Giles 202
Canadian Forces Snowbirds
The Snowbirds enter centre stage after crossing the city

Centre stage is actually a City of Toronto fire and rescue boat which started up their flames of water at about 11:30am. First up is USAF Thunderbirds which have a great colour scheme.

Another fantastic CIAS show. They are asking people to post pictures with #cias and #lovethenoise hashtags in support of the air show.

See more photos after the jump.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Canadian National Exhibition 2018

Winner winner, chicken dinner. Toronto's annual end of summer midway and exhibition ends on Labour Day. Friday's attendees make the extensive Exhibibition Place grounds seem small because we are all packed into the CNE almost shoulder to shoulder.

Making the trip into Toronto is more of a nostalgia trip than trying to go one some of the familiar midway rides.
I enjoyed the water show in the inner harbour and the Legends of the Silk Road lantern festival was incredible. The Rush Parkour show was fun again and I had my waffle ice cream in the food building where the lineups were smaller than on the midway. Long, long lineups for rides meant I wasn't going to try any.

The IATSE Local 58 backstage crew are still locked out of Exhibition Grounds and are picketing near Princes's Gates along Strachan Avenue. Be patient when waiting at picket lines and ask the City to get back to the bargaining table.
Picketers bring out a large blow-up rat

See more of the midway after the jump.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square