Beeton Honey and Garden Festival
by Festival Nomad, Gary McWilliams
You’d Be Surprised
It’s April and I’m scouring various festival and event lists looking for events to visit in May. Although there were a lot of Ontario festivals and events in May, the kind we were looking for were not plentiful! Then as I scrolled down the list I saw the Beeton Honey and Garden Festival! I read the event description and thought, “Hey, this sounds interesting!” The only problem was that I had no idea where Beeton was. That’s when I logged onto Google Maps and typed in Beeton, ON! After a ”little gurgling” Beeton popped up on the map! I found out that it was located just west of the Holland Marsh. For those of you that don’t know where the Holland Marsh is, it’s about half way between Newmarket to the south and Barrie to the north! Over the past few years we have visited a number of events in smaller towns and we have always be gratified at just how well run most of them are. That being said, most of them are not huge affairs and are mainly local in nature. So, imagine our surprise when we arrived in Beeton to discover the size and scope of a great festival! The event was not only well run, but encompassed the whole of the main downtown street. I am not talking about a small block or two. I am talking about a lengthy main street that ran several blocks (about 1 mile)! Of course, at the time we started our explorations, we had no idea the lengths to which we were about to travel!
Going to the Dogs!
Before we had actually reached the main street, there was a park on the north side of the road leading into the downtown area. We had just parked our car on the street when we heard barking! It was coming from the park. We decided to investigate. The park had literally “gone to the dogs”. Sherri Hall, of Maplelane Golden Retrievers, had set up a demonstration area for her dogs. We decided to stay for a while to watch. Her dogs were amazing. They had set up 2 obstacle courses for the dog to race in. They started the dogs off and they raced over the hurdles and through the plastic tunnel. It great to see how quickly and gracefully the dogs performed! The crowd watching loved it! I am not sure who had more fun, the dogs or the people watching them! From the park we finally walked to the main street and the downtown area. Lined up on either side of the street were vendors’ tents. In between the tent visitors to the festival wandered from side to side, taking in all the products and activities being offered. We joined the flow of people and made our way along the busy street. All types of products were being offered, but most specifically the theme of the festival was being upheld! One of the first booths we came upon was offering garden products. Further along another booth had some unique whimsical lawn ornaments for sale. Judi and I had a good laugh at the thought of these in our garden, frogs and ants! In amongst the vendors there were different attractions and activities for both adults and children to enjoy! For the adults there was music and street art. For the kids, a paint ball target and a hay stack treasure hunt! All this and we hadn’t even traveled half way!
At about the midway point we came to the festival’s information booth. We stopped to say “hello” to the volunteers and to introduce ourselves. From there we continued moving up the street. Again, we were happy to see just how well the theme of the festival continued. In this stretch there were plenty of unique garden and honey products being sold! One of the honey booths had a see though beehive for visitors to look at. One of the more interesting attractions was the Police K-9 Unit. The Police handler, with his dog, spoke to the crowd that had gather around him. He told us about his dog and its daily duties. He even demonstrated how he worked with the dog. The dog in the meantime happily played with his chew toy! Even though the dog was playful in this setting, the officer explained how serious the dog became when asked to perform his duties. Continuing up the street we came across one of Judi’s favourite attractions, a public library with a book sale! Who would have thought, two book sales (Roseneath Spring Festival) in one day! Two dollars later, Judi rejoined me with a bag full of books! After visiting the library and its book sale, we continued up the street. We were surprised at the distance traveled! There was plenty more to see, smell and hear! Street musicians played their music at the sides of the street; smoke from food booths filled the air and vendors selling a wide variety of interesting and unique products called us into their booths. We finally reached the end of the downtown area and the festival. We turned and headed back towards where we had parked our car. It was then that we truly appreciated the size of the festival! Everything seemed to ebb and flow perfectly as we wound our way back to the beginning! We passed children and adults alike, all enjoying the excitement of the Beeton Honey and Garden Festival! Finally we made our way back to our car, hot and tired after the long walk. The dogs were still in the park and the sun was high in the sky when we left for our long trip home!