Turtlefest promises bigger, better

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Turtlefest rolls into town June 13-14. Changes have been made as organizers continue to tweak the fourth annual festival, but many of the best elements are returning.

Turtlefest continues to be a multi-venue event, encouraging participants to get around town on the weekend, from downtown to Lake Lisgar, from Annandale National Historic Site to Memorial Park (fairgrounds) and the Community Centre, there is no shortage of entertainment.

"How much space do you have?" asked Turtlefest volunteer Carrie Smith. "I could fill four pages talking about it."

One of the changes will be charging $5 general admission to Saturday's fairground venue at Memorial Park.

"The entry fee to the fairgrounds is $5 (per person), which gets you in to all the bouncies, the vendor alley, the Mighty Machines, and also includes an outdoor movie Saturday at dusk," said Smith. "It's all-inclusive, it also gets you the entertainment.

"Last year we charged $3 for a bracelet for the inflatables. This year we have the outdoor movie and we have a lot more inflatables coming (from Cambridge). So it's better bang for your buck.

"I think we're going to have more people this year," Smith nodded, "with the Snowbirds coming (14th-15th). I think the event was a huge success last year and we've made it bigger and better this year, so yes, we're hoping attendance grows."

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

FRIDAY, JUNE 13

Turtlefest begins on Friday, June 13 with My Town “A Reflection of 50 Years” at the Footprints Museum and Heritage Home, 15 Denton Ave., a Footprints in the Sand Foundation Open House from 1-5 p.m.

"It's the 50th anniversary of Footprints in the Sand, the poem, by Margaret Fishback Powers," said Smith.

From 4-8 p.m., create a Turtle on a Stick – a chocolate-covered cake – at Grandmother's House, 276 Broadway.

Cruise on down to check out the beautiful old and new rides at the downtown Cruise-In which begins at 4 p.m., partnered with Tillsonburg Cruisers.

"All of Broadway is going to be shut down from Oxford to Bridge Streets," said Smith. "There is going to be inflatables... local businesses, service clubs, churches and community organizations filling the streets with family activities, games, instore promotions, giveaways. There's a celebrity dunk tank, and also a trackless train that can take you up and down the street. Outdoor licenced patios, food, popcorn, and great music."

The highlight of Friday's entertainment is the Downtown Block Party, which kicks off at 4 p.m. on Broadway, sponsored by Tillsonburg BIA. Bring your own lawn chairs and blankets so you can sit and enjoy the entertainment including Shane Chisholm, Amy Churm, Nicole Rayy, and Marshall Dane. Admission is free, but there is a limited number of VIP Lounge tickets that come with drinks, appetizers and 'VIP Treatment' available ($50).

George T. Turtle will join a Cake Cutting Ceremony at the Metro parking lot at 5 p.m. to help kick off the 4th annual festival with greetings from the Town of Tillsonburg, a colouring contest display, Turtlefest memorabilia, Turtle cakes, Turtle cookies, product samples from various suppliers, music and more.

Block Party festivities will have local businesses, service clubs, churches and community organizations out on the streets with family activities including games for all ages, in-store promotions, giveaways, a celebrity dunk tank, and inflatable bouncers. Ride a trackless train. As well, there will be demonstrations, food, popcorn, music, art, turtles and more.... fun for all ages.

Tillsonburg Kinettes are organizing a pre-teen dance, 6:30-8 p.m., at the Carriage Hall (Brock Street West). Come out of your shell and get your groove on. Open to kids ages 7-12, $5 admission, with refreshments and snacks available for purchase. Please note, parents must sign their children in and out of the dance.

A lit sailboat display will be set up on Lake Lisgar all evening for viewing, organized by 3rd Tillsonburg Sea Scouts.

SATURDAY, JUNE 14

On Saturday, start it off 8-11 a.m. with a pancake, sausage, coffee, tea or juice breakfast for $5 at the Carriage Hall on Brock Street West, sponsored by Tillsonburg Lions and Chrissy's Catering. Proceeds go to the Tillsonburg Lions Club.

The Best Foot Forward for Others Walk-a-Thon begins at 9:45 p.m. at 15 Denton Avenue. Walk around the lake and back to the fairgrounds. Proceeds to the Blossom Garden Orphanage in Jamaica and the Arthritis Society. Organized by the 50th Anniversary Footprints in the Sand Committee.

Visit the Farmer’s Market for fresh produce, baking, preserves and more, located outside the Station Arts Centre, Bridge Street West, from 10 a.m. to noon.

Bake turtle treats for a chance to win in a Turtle Treats Baking Contest at the Station Arts Centre. Submissions for both adult and youth categories will be baked between 10 -11 a.m. with judging from 11 a.m. to noon.

Decorate your canoe like a turtle and join the timed Turtle Dragon canoe racing on Lake Lisgar. Two to a canoe, with youth and adult categories. For entry forms visit www.turtlefest.ca. Races begin at the dock on Lake Lisgar.

Demonstration races will be given by members of the Tillsonburg Rowing Club from 10 a.m. to noon, starting at the Lake Lisgar dock. There will be an open house to follow with rowing technique demonstrations.

While at the fairgrounds, stop into the Creative Imaginations Festival area from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a reptile show, crafts, games, face painting and more. Please note, the Creative Imaginations Festival has moved from its usual downtown location.

Investigate the area around Lake Lisgar for items on the Scavenger Hunt list, a free event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. organized by the Station Arts Centre and Fair Board.

Art Attack, from 10-1 in partnership with the Tillsonburg Tri-County Agricultural Society, gives you a chance to use your imagination and creativity. Get a head start and make a craft to enter into the Tillsonburg Fair in August.

New this year are the Turtle Cart Races and Barbecue at Crompton Home Hardware Building Centre on Tillson Ave. from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Ages 6-10, 11-15 and 16-and-up, with prizes and trophies. Proceeds from the the barbecue go to Turtlefest.

Anyone who likes 'Mighty Machines' should head to the fairgrounds 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to touch and see some of the town's Might Machines, from fire trucks to front end loaders, and everything in between.

Have some “Turtle-ly” fun playing games and making a – free – turtle craft on the lawn of the Annandale National Historic Site from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (or while supplies last). Make sure to get your George T. Turtle tattoo, honouring Turtlefest's official mascot. Or get your face painted.

Also at Annandale National Historic Site, 10-3, bring out your 'inner artist' and paint your own ceramic turtle. Free while supplies last.

Have you ever wondered about skunks and other animals that live in our area? Visit the museum lawn to talk with the “Skunk Lady” and her friends to find out more, partnered with Skunk Haven Animal Rehab Group.

Do you have a favourite turtle story? Storytellers at the Tillsonburg Library do and they are inviting you to join them on the museum lawn for Story Time from 10-3.

Buy a Green Posy for George Tillson's Grave, from 10-3 at the museum lawn. Turtlefest is based on a legend about our town’s founder George Tillson returning one day as a turtle. Honour George today by purchasing a green flower to put on his resting spot in the Pioneer Cemetery. All proceeds to the Pioneer Cemetery Restoration Fund.

Turtle Find and Count, at the Annandale National Historic Site from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. challenges you to find and count the turtles in Annandale House. Have fun going through all three floors of Annandale House to find and count the turtles. A prize will be awarded to the person who finds them all.

Back at the fairgrounds from 10-3, see an exhibit featuring native turtles in Ontario with an explanation of turtles at risk sponsored by the Otter Valley Naturalists. Turtle and wildlife viewing in Lake Lisgar. Handouts from the Long Point Basin Land Trust.

The turtle games and crafts will be a highlight at the museum, said Smith. "Turtle tattoos and face painting. Paint your own turtle. And a book signing."

An OPP Roll-Over Car will be educating people on the importance of seatbelts, 10-3 in the fairgrounds.

Celebrate Margaret Fishback Powers' world-famous poem, Footprints in the Sand, at their booth which features sea turtles, 10-3 p.m. at the fairgrounds.

Stepping Stones Wildlife Rehabilitation will have a live turtle and display station at the fairgrounds, 10-3. Come and see live turtles rescued from the wild.

Turtlefest went to Cambridge to bring in Grand River Inflatables, open at the fairgrounds from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The trackless train will move to the fairgrounds Saturday, offering rides to young children and adults.

Tillsonburg Fire Department will set up a Smoke House, from 10-6, for people to learn how to escape a smoke filled building.

A variety of local and area grown talent will be on stage Saturday at Memorial Park (fairgrounds). BRING YOUR OWN LAWNCHAIRS! Starting off the entertainment is Tillsonburg's Danscene, 10-11 a.m.; followed by 11a.m.-12 p.m. Music with Brian; 12-1 p.m. Ronald McDonald; 1-2 p.m. Music with Brian; 2-3 p.m. Belly Dancing Demo & Instruction; 3-3:30 p.m.; Dan Dube Guitar Students - Emma Chevers, Brooklyn MacKay, Katie McCoy, Emma Dew, Tyson Robinson; 3:30-4 p.m. Candice Howse; 4-5 p.m. Brooks Academy of Dance; 5-6 p.m. Country Cruisers; 6-7 p.m. Jaclyn VanHappen; 7-8 p.m. Free Beer & Freshie; and concludes 8-9 p.m. with Chelsea Crites.

A special Don't Give Up story from 10:30-2:30 features Jan Everett reading her very own Turtle Tale at the Annandale National Historic Site.

At 11 a.m., Tillsonburg Fire Department will be demonstrating new water safety rescue equipment near the Lake Lisgar dock.

Shaw's Ice Cream is coming to the Annandale National Historic Site lawn to sell ice cream, 11-3 or while supplies last.

"Shaw's 'turtle' ice cream booth," Smith noted. "And more..."

Saturday, June 14 marks the opening of the Tillsonburg Lake Lisgar Water Park, 11-6 p.m. During Turtlefest, admission is half price.

Meet Peek-a-boo, the 50 lb tortoise as he roams the lawn of the Annandale National Historic Site museum, 12-3 p.m.

Stop by the Tillsonburg Retirement Centre, 2nd floor program room, 1-3 p.m. or while supplies last, to enjoy an ice tea and treat, free.

Meet world famous author Margaret Fishback Powers, Tillsonburg's Favourite Daughter, as she celebrates the 50th anniversary of her Footprints in the Sand poem with a book signing at Annandale National Historic Site, 1-3 p.m. The 50th anniversary Footprints committee is also sponsoring 'Good Old Time Music' by the Dawson Family Band.

Winners of the 9th annual Footprints in the Sand Poetry and Prose Contest will be announced at 2:30 p.m., also at Annandale National Historic Site

From 3-5 p.m., visit the Tillsonburg Airport for the Snowbirds and CF-18 air show. Gates open at noon and show starts at 3 p.m. There is limited paid parking at the airport, but a free shuttle bus in the parking lot north of the Post Office will take you to the airport. For an extra fee. participants can join Photographer's Alley, an exclusive unobstructed front-row viewing area, close to the ramp where all aircraft taxi before and after their performances.

From 5-10 p.m., it's the Footprints Gala Evening at the Tillsonburg Community Centre, organized by the My Town – 50th Anniversary Footprints in the Sand Committee. Advance tickets only, available at Sears Tillsonburg, ANHS, and Station Arts Centre. Live auction proceeds benefit Tillsonburg's Upper Deck Youth Centre.

And to wrap up the 2014 Turtlefest, organizers have planned an outdoor movie. Bring your lawn chairs and/or blankets, and enjoy the movie. Free popcorn. Refreshments available to purchase.

chris.abbott@sunmedia.ca

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