Mid August, the Durham Region as a whole got together to celebrate and host the first annual Durham Festival. For four days it was a celebration of creativity and culture with something for everyone! There were bike rides, gourmet food trucks, performances in the park and night-time dances. This Festival asked residents and visitors to celebrate the diverse communities and creative talent that live within Durham’s eight municipalities and gave them an opportunity to experience the sights, sounds, smells, and flavours of the region.
Performance In Pickering held a Shakespearean workshop. Everyone was welcome no matter what their experience and was followed by a performance of Hamlet like you’ve never seen it before in Millennium Square. Each evening, Dusk Dances were held in Alex Robertson Park, featuring high quality contemporary and traditional dance. Pickering Museum Village provided heritage children’s games and crafts on Friday afternoon at Alex Robertson Park. Then, a giant site-wide game of ‘Capture the Flag’ was held on Saturday afternoon and Millennium Square-hosted Artist vendors displaying their wares on Sunday afternoon. All weekend, Pickering’s Nautical Village hosted an Apple Festival featuring apple-themed food in the local restaurants and bakeries.
Woodland Disco and Glowfest took place at Parkwood Estate in Oshawa on Friday evening. This family friendly event included a D.J. disco dance party, glow art , children’s crafts, interactive art activities, laser tag, dance performances and more. The magic began when the sun went down and everything started to shine. The fountains glowed and a glow-in-the-dark wonderland was created with hula hoops, roaming buskers, stilt-walkers, fire-breathers, glow art and glow face painting.
Picasso’s Picnic celebrated the young artists in our midst, from toddlers to teens, at the former Cream of Barley Mill by Soper Creek Trail in Clarington. It was a day of outdoor arts, crafts, drama and music, providing a full experience of visual and performance arts. This included free visual arts workshops and “make and take” sessions such as: Throw a pot on the wheel with Lela Filipovski; Face painting with Janet Lange; Printmaking; Button making; Paint a masterpiece; Ribbon sticks; Stop-motion animation studio in the gallery; Karaoke recording studio in the gallery; A Gift of Art from Newcastle activity; and Make a musical instrument from re-purposed materials, inspired by guest artist, Mark Sepic.
Durham Harvest Picnic on Saturday afternoon at Victoria Fields in Whitby was one for the books. Literally! That’s right. The Durham Region took on the challenge of The GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title for the Longest Picnic Table and succeeded! Hundreds of people from across the Durham Region and beyond came together to enjoy a picnic lunch at the whopping 136.61 metre-long table. Not to be left out, the northern townships of Brock, Scugog and Uxbridge set up the North Durham Village tent at the picnic and gave everyone the opportunity to learn about their historic areas, museums, golf courses, ice fishing, antiques, lakes and trails, maple syrup and music festivals, as well as locally produced products and the very best of rural life.
Whitby Harbour Day was held at Port Whitby Marina on Saturday. Featured main stage performers were M.T. Pockets, Debwewin Singers from the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation, Five, Rory Taillon and Mumbai Standstill, Jack de Keyzer and Whitby Idol. There were also Dragon Boat races, water ski shows and sailing school demonstrations. At 4pm on the porch of the James Rowe House, the play, “Maud of Leaskdale”, was presented. The play was based on the journals of Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables, who called the Township of Uxbridge home
The Taste of Ajax at Rotary Park in Ajax may have been Mincom Jo’s favourite event. Everyone had the opportunity to savour flavours from local restaurants and food trucks. The live entertainment featured The Jason R. Martin Band, Two For The Show and Beach Boys Tribute Band. There was lots of crafts and things to do including cookie decorating.
Ride4UnitedWay Gran Fondo started and finished on Sunday at the Legends Centre in Oshawa for all three courses. The bike ride and fundraiser had people cycling across the region, through small towns and along scenic roads, with courses geared towards accommodating a fairly broad cross section of riders with varying experience and fitness levels.
There really was something for everyone during the Durham Festival. It was an action-packed four days that involved the entire region. We’re all looking forward to the “second annual” Durham Festival and you should be too.