“Fall’ by wayside

5 Sep

When Glengarry Pioneer Museum’s celebration of the autumnal period first appeared on its event calendar eighteen years ago, the word “Fall” was part of its title… as in the “Harvest Fall Festival.” At the time, I argued that its inclusion in the title bordered on redundancy. However, the name stuck and, over the years, I came to admire its quaint awkwardness.

Eighteen years later, I’m sad to report that, having reached the age of majority, the event has decided it will no longer use its middle name. Forevermore, it will go by the rather mundane moniker of “Harvest Festival.” It makes sense ecologically. Just think of all the ink that will be saved not printing the word “Fall.” However, like the season itself, the decision saddens me a bit.

Munro & McIntosh: Sunday’s headliner

Next Sunday’s Harvest Fall Festival in Dunvegan (there, I got it in one last time) will treat visitors to a special display of Munro & McIntosh buggies and sleighs. Over a century ago, the Munro & McIntosh Carriage Company turned Alexandria into the Detroit of the horse and buggy era. At its height, the company was building in excess of 10,000 horse-drawn vehicles annually. This equates to about 200 units a week — an impressive figure for a largely handmade product of such complexity. It was a brand that put Alexandria, and Glengarry, on the map the world around. In addition to the collection of Munro & McIntosh buggies, sleighs and artifacts on display, local historian Dane Lanken will provide a fascinating overview of the company’s history and its impact on the local economy. Dane is always an entertaining speaker. I encourage you to catch his presentation at 2:15 in the Big Beaver Schoolhouse.

As always, there will be oodles of other fun stuff for you to do and see, including pioneer life demonstrations of rope making, trapping, spinning, weaving, blacksmithing and much more. A Children’s Tent that boasts pioneer-inspired games and activities — and a penny candy booth — will keep the young ones in your group enthralled. And, when you’re ready, you can visit the hand-cranked ice cream booth to sample what pure ice cream tasted like, back in the day. I also urge you to visit the Harvest Sale tent and take a bit of the “harvest” home with you. No doubt the tables will be groaning under the donations of home baking and preserves, local produce, heritage plants and much more. And your purchases will help raise much needed funds for the museum.

Three other must-do’s at the Harvest Festival are the annual horse-powered parade led by the Quigley Highlanders Pipes and Drums which starts at 1:00 PM; a visit to the Dunvegan Recreation’s refreshment stand near the Cheese Factory; and, if you’re of drinking age, at stop at the Star Inn Bar to quench your thirst with a frosty glass of Cassel Brewery beer. To change things up, the DRA is introducing a number of new items to their menu, including hot dogs, chilidogs and vegetarian chili with a bun. I wonder out loud if the Star Inn Bar will expand its bill of fare next year to include wacky tobacky.

The festival opens its doors this coming Sunday, September 9that 11:00 AM and wraps up at 4:00 PM. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for students and $25 for families. Children under 12 are admitted for free. Please remember that the admission gates accept cash only. They have no way of processing credit or debit cards and there’s no ATM on site. This year’s festival is co-sponsored by Caisse Populaire de la Vallée, Munro Agromart, John & Julie Hope & family and many other local businesses. Hopefully, YOU will lend your support by attending the 2018 Harvest Festival on the occasion of its 18thbirthday.

Congratulations Dr. Sarah

If the Bradstreet Directories of the late 1800s are to be believed, Dunvegan could once lay claim to a doctor who resided right in the hamlet. We even had a part-time physician from the late 1970s to the early 1990s, when Dr. Burton Ayre saw patients at the farmhouse he and his wife Amelia owned next door to the Trottiers.

While the days of having a sawbones we could call our own are long gone, I was heartened to learn that a young Dunvegan woman, Sarah Leduc-Gaudet, from Leducdale Farms on County Road 24 nearer to Highland Road, earned her Certification in Family Medicine from the College of Family Physicians of Canada on June 27thof this year. She won’t be opening an office in Dunvegan (at least in the foreseeable future), but she is setting up her practice in Hawkesbury. Congratulations to Sarah and her family. I met the newly minted doctor from Dunvegan when she was a resident at the St. Isidore Medical Clinic and was very impressed.

“Small Halls” returns

After last year’s smash hit of a concert in Dunvegan, it’s no surprise that the Festival of Small Halls is returning this fall. The festival began with a vision of bringing big music to small places. If you’re unfamiliar with the Small Halls concept, it’s a model based on similar festivals in PEI and Australia that help big names in live music to perform in small communities. The Ontario version of Small Halls has been growing exponentially for five years, thanks to the enthusiasm of musicians, community groups like the Dunvegan Recreation Association, and audience members from across Glengarry who love live music.

This year’s Festival of Small Halls concert in Dunvegan will take place on Saturday, September 22 at 7:30 PM. It will feature two up and coming musicians from Nova Scotia, Cassie and Maggie MacDonald. Raised in a musical household surrounded by the traditional East Coast fiddle culture, the two sistersperform in both English and Scottish Gaelic.

Not surprisingly, the backbone of their music is inspired by the driving rhythms of Celtic music. But they have also started to explore different folk traditions, such as Appalachian songs and Bluegrass melodies. To quote from Irish Musicmagazine: “Be it their foot percussion accompanying driving Nova Scotian sets their perfect blend of sibling harmonies added to a stunning interplay on various instruments a musical evening spent with Cassie and Maggie is a great night altogether.” If you’d like to sample a taste of what’s in store, I suggest Goggling “Hangman – Cassie and Maggie.”

You can throw the dice and wait to purchase tickets at the door on the night of the concert. Or you can lock them in by calling (613) 402-1425 or visiting the Festival’s web site at www.thefestivalofsmallhalls.com. Tickets are $25 each in advance… or more at the door.