(PHOTO: Puppets prepare to devour a birthday cake at Bob’s Bakery in Almonte during last year’s Puppets Up! festival.)
(Press release via the Mississippi Mills Festival Consortium)
Summer has arrived in Almonte and Mississippi Mills, and so have the festivals! Just a short drive west of Stittsville, Almonte is known as the Festival Town and is home to a whole summer’s worth of family-friendly events. Whether your interest is in Celtic music and culture, agriculture, puppetry, Scottish heritage, or the fibre arts, we have it all.
First up is Almonte Celtfest, to be held July 10-12 in leafy Gemmill Park in the heart of Almonte. Celtfest celebrates the traditional Celtic music, song and dance of the Ottawa Valley. Held in Gemmill Park’s natural amphitheatre as well as in local pubs and the historic Old Town Hall, Almonte Celtfest features excellent concerts, workshops, artisans, food venues, a sheltered senior’s area, and Little Celtz children’s activities. Admission to the festival is by donation. www.almonteceltfest.ca
The following weekend on July 17-19 the Almonte Fair, one of the oldest fairs in the Ottawa Valley, returns for its 157th year. The Fair features a Demolition Derby, live musical entertainment on both Friday and Saturday night, Heavy Horse and livestock shows, homecraft exhibits, a midway, and lots of family entertainment. Look for the return of Little Ray’s Reptiles with a special Australian show. The theme this year is “Recognizing 100 Years of 4-H in Ontario”. www.almontefair.ca
Almonte also hosts two major festivals in August. The first is Puppets Up! International Puppet Festival which takes place along Mill Street in downtown Almonte on August 7th, 8th, and 9th. A major annual event in the international puppetry community since 2004, and attracting approx. 10,000 attendees over the weekend, this three-day festival is devoted to the art of puppetry and the creation of fun for all ages. Puppet troupes from all over the world perform in the Almonte Old Town Hall and in theatres along Almonte’s main street, while other festival highlights include a daily puppet parade, a vendor area, and street entertainment. www.puppetsup.ca
Next up, wear your tartan to the North Lanark Highland Games on August 22. The NLH Games are held at the beautiful grounds of the North Lanark Agricultural Society, 195 Water Street, on the banks of the Mississippi River. Featuring twenty pipe bands, a hundred dancers, and champion heavyweight athletes, the Almonte Games also offer visitors the opportunity to buy traditional clothing, Scottish food, refreshments, souvenir items, crafts, and genealogical information. www.almontehighlandgames.com
We’re still going strong into September with Fibrefest on September 12th and 13th. Fibrefest is a two-day festival of the fibre arts, presenting artists and guild demonstrations from across the province, as well as a wide variety of vendors including quilt shops and alpaca farms. A vintage clothing show and sale is another highlight. The festival takes place at the Almonte Arena and also at the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum, a National Historic site of Canada, where visitors can also explore the history of the Mississippi Valley and the textile industry. www.mvtm.ca