Canadian Open Fiddle Championship (Shelburne)

Rain Drops Keep Falling On my (Our) Head(s)


by Festival Nomad, Gary McWilliams

Another weekend and more rain! It’s been like that this year! Even though it was clear in Cobourg, we had heard that rain was being forecasted for later in the afternoon. We had missed a lot of festivals this year due to poor weather, so we decided to take a chance today! Besides, I love fiddle music and I really wanted to go to the Canadian Open Fiddle Championship taking place in Shelburne! It was also going to be a day’s outing with our 4 year old granddaughter! We had agreed to look after her for the day and the sound of fiddle music should keep her dancing. The day started off fairly well. The weather in Cobourg was reasonably warm. There were some clouds, but no rain. It was like that all the way to Barrie. That’s where everything fell apart! The temperature dropped, and I mean dropped! And then the rains came and I mean really came! We debated turning back and going home, but decide that we had come too far! Besides, the rain was going to stop! Right! Wrong, when we arrived in Shelburne it was still raining! It’s not that I am a fair weather “Festival Nomad”, but this was too much! We found a convenient parking spot (no surprise!) and headed to the main street where the parade was going to take place. Other hardy souls were on the sidewalks waiting for the start of the parade. Most had sought shelter under the eves of the retail stores that lined the street. Judi and our granddaughter found a sheltered spot while I continued down the street to see if there was a better spot to view the parade. Also, I was being noisy. I wanted to see what else was being offered. About half way up the street a seasoned Busker enthusiastically tried to “warm up” the crowd. They watched, but from the shelter of their eves. A few children ventured forward but most were called back by there parents! There was still a little time before the start of the parade so I decided that Judi and I needed a coffee and our granddaughter needed a treat. I found a nearby coffee/bake shop and went in. Needless to say it was very crowded. No only were people purchasing coffee and goodies, they were also seeking shelter. After a long wait I was finally served. I then needed to fight my way through the lingering crowd. Eventually I made my way through and back to the outside and rain! Just as I found my fellow adventurers, I heard the distant sound of sirens! The parade was about to begin!

The Parade…

The rain continued to fall, but when the sound of the sirens filled the air, the crowd became alive with anticipation! The first to arrive was the police car. It was quickly followed by several emergency vehicles, a yellow rescue truck, red fire vehicles and an ambulance. They were followed by a pick-up truck towing a large float. The float was full of adults and children at various stages of play! Next was a smaller float. On it a band was playing enthusiastically! The parade continued with clowns, horses, old vehicles and more people! The rain didn’t dampen the spirits of the parade participants. They were simply having too much fun! Even the people watching the parade seem oblivious to the down pour! Many different groups formed part of the parade! The Rotarians were riding on their colourful blue and gold float. The Shriners, in their “Golf Carts”, were cruising all over the road, causing as much mayhem and havoc as they could! The town’s Senior A hockey team, the “Muskies”, were out in force, thrilling the kids in the crowd! Floats, horse drawn wagons, bands and tractors (large and huge) drove or walked along the rain covered street. Our granddaughter, soaking wet, gleefully jumped into the puddles and rush onto the street to collect candies that had been thrown out by passing parade participants. The parade, long after the sirens could no longer be heard, was over. As the last participant passed by us, we turned and headed back to our car. We wanted to find the next event. The only casualties of the day were the cookies I had purchased for my granddaughter! The rain had turned them into mush!

We Missed It…

Back in our car and out of the rain, we decided to look for other scheduled events. The inclement weather, however, had caused the cancellation of some of the other outdoor events. No one can control the weather and who knew that a normally sunny warm August day would turn cold and dreary! Unfortunately for us we had planned to visit only the daytime outdoor activities. Fortunately for the Canadian Open Fiddle Championship organizers, the main attractions were scheduled indoors! With our granddaughter in tow, it was impossible to change our plans. From reputation and word of mouth, I know that the evening championship finals were going to be spectacular! Had we been able to see into the future, we would have planned to be in the audience that Saturday evening. As it was we enjoyed the parade with its enthusiastic participants and onlookers. Shelburne is a great little town with a huge heart! Hopefully we will be invited back to see the rest of the Show!