Brighton Applefest

Gary

by Festival Nomad, Gary McWilliams

Following the Apple Route…

It’s a sunny, hazy morning and we are traveling east on the Apple Route to Brighton, Ontario. Brighton is the home of the Brighton Applefest, a fixture in the area for over 30 years. We were early enough to arrive in time for the traditional pancake breakfast. Even though we had arrived just when the festival opened, there was already a long line-up for breakfast. It was a good thing we got there when we did, because the community centre filled up quickly shortly after we had arrived. Cars were driving all through the parking lot looking for a free spot. A lot of cars came down a dead end aisle only to have to back out and try again. That wouldn’t have been too bad excepted they were backing beside the breakfast lie-up. There were a lot of nervous feet during this process. We finally reached the front of the line, paid our money and were given three large fluffy pancakes and four flavourful sausages. We took our meals inside the Lions Centre and found a spot to sit. I must say the breakfast was worth the wait. Next to the Lions Centre was the arena building. This was where the Crafts Show was being held. We walked into the front part of the building and were confronted with an apple booth. We just could walk by; after all, we were at an Apple Festival! We bought a bag of Macintosh Apples and took them back to the car. Finally we walked into the arena, onto the craft floor. The arena was filled with a variety of products being sold, bread and pastry, jewelry, clothing, jams and more apples. One lady was selling Hard Shelled Gourd. These were fascinating! The Gourd Garden is owned by Marion Cotter. Marion has been fashioning Gourds for many years. According to a sign at the booth, gourds, after drying them can be “cut, carved, burnt, stained, painted, and decorated with feathers, shell, beads, coins.” “Gourds have been made into: baskets, bowls, dippers…. “. You get the picture; they are a very useful fruit. I had wanted to promote Marion’s business, but she tells be she is winding it down and when all her gourds are gone she is retiring (sort of), good for her… too bad for us! We left the Craft Show and headed across the street for the next attraction…

On the Other Side of the Street…

The Brighton Public School is located on the north side of County Road #2, across from the arena. The grounds on the east side of the school were set up for Retriever and Dog Training Demonstrations. The demonstration had just started when we reached the grounds. The dogs being used were Golden Retrievers and Yellow Labs. The dogs and their handlers were located at one end of the grounds and two “thrower” (new technical word) were at the other end separated by some distance. Each “thrower” would throw his/her decoy up in the air so that it would land somewhere close by. After the throws, the handle would send the dog after one of the decoys. The dog would run and fetch it, return it to the handler and then go after the other one. The dogs, for the most part were very cooperative, even though some kids, playing in a nearby playground, seemed to be a bit of a distraction. Once we were finish watching the dogs perform, we walked east to the East Northumberland Secondary School. This was where the Lions Club of Brighton’s Juried Art Show was being held. About 30 artists had set up booths around the gymnasium. There was an interesting array of subjects and styles. We stopped at Barb Smith’s booth, She was working on a piece of her art when we walked by. As it turns out, Barb lives in Cobourg close to where we live. (Website: http://www.artforthelord.net/ ) As we were about to leave I noticed artist Doug Comeau’s booth. Doug is a well known, widely collected wildlife artist. Doug’s work (Website: www.timberwolfgallery.ca) is widely used at fund raising events by both Ducks Unlimited and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters. We chatted for some time and then left to continue exploring the festival. It was back to the south side of the street...

The Route Back…

Back at the Community Centre the grill was being fired up for the lunch crowd. Beside and to the back of the community complex the Midway was in full swing… kids and their families were lining up to go on the rides. Having seen most of what was being offered today, we decided to head home. It’s too bad we could not attend on Saturday, because the festival had a full schedule of events planned – the Brighton Applefest Fun Run, a Street Fair, a Car Show, Hot Air Balloon, Parade and more. Perhaps we will visit next year’s festival on the Saturday. In the meantime, in was a beautiful sunny fall day the route home had many interest fresh fruit and vegetable stands to visit. The colours, although not as vibrant as they have been in the past, were still spectacular. As we drove back along the Apple Route patches of red, yellow and orange appeared. It was interesting to drive along seeing only green leaves and then to come to a section of fall at its best. Nature certainly works in mysterious ways! We drove from Brighton to the village of Colborne. Along the way we stopped at several stands, but it wasn’t until the eastern edge of Colborne that we came to our favourite stand, Rutherford’s. Even though we have stooped there numerous times, we are always surprised at the quality and selection of their products. Happily rewarded with fresh produce, we continue westward home on the Apple Route.

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