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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Yee haw for the Royal; Niagara Falls lights up; cottagers and DIYers

   One-Tank Trip published on Oct. 29/30, 2011

    (c) By Jim Fox

   It’s not yet winter but a couple of big upcoming shows have that season as part of their name.

   The Royal, yee haw
Olympic gold medalist Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, Ont., the top-ranked rider in the world, will appear at the Royal Horse Show. (Photo credit © mdunnphoto.com)
   It’s known as the “world’s largest combined indoor agricultural and equestrian show” and returns to Toronto for its 89th year.
   Although it’s not winter, the Royal – officially known as the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair – brings with it the best the country has to offer.
   It runs from Nov. 4 to 13 at Exhibition Place, offering “spectacular sights and sounds of thousands of horses and livestock animals, combined with the thrill of international competition – from equestrian to agriculture innovation,” said publicist Tiffany Fisher.

   The fair has its roots in 1922 when a group of farmers met to catch-up on business after the busy fall harvest and has become the annual showcase of Canada’s best in agricultural products and innovations.
   “The 2011 Royal has its best line-up of events ever, featuring celebrity appearances, highly recognized chefs, cowboys, cattle and cocktails,” Fisher said.
Children to learn how to milk a cow at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. (mdunnphoto.com)
   A highlight is the Royal Horse Show, one of the most prestigious indoor equestrian events in North America.
   This year’s show includes notable riders such as Olympic gold medalist Eric Lamaze and Mark Todd competing in disciplines such as show jumping and other events.
   The Royal welcomes Ian Millar, Canadian show jumping world champion and Olympic silver medalist, and internationally acclaimed Charro horseman Jerry Diaz who brings this 17th century Mexican discipline to the ring.
   There’s also the annual Celebrity Chef Competition on Nov. 4 featuring Food Network’s Chef Lynn Crawford and Thirsty Traveller Kevin Brauch.
Ride 'em cowboy at the rodeo events are at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.
   Toronto Maple Leaf’s Darcy Tucker, Curtis Joseph, Darryl Sittler and Mark Napier will be in the saddle for a match of Horse Hockey on Nov. 5 in an event similar to polo.
   There’s an authentic rodeo, complete with bull riding, bronc riding and barrel racing, on Nov. 6.
   A fan favourite is the SuperDogs Show with dancing Dalmatians to Frisbee-playing bulldogs with several shows daily.
   Show hours are Nov. 4, 5 and 7 to 12, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Nov. 6, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Nov. 13, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
   Admission is $22; $16 for ages five to 17 and 60 plus; free to age four; $50 family pass for four. Horse show tickets, with general admission, are from $38 to $55. www.royalfair.org; (416) 263-3400

   Lighting up the Falls
Enchantment of Disney displays depict the classics at the Winter Festival of Lights in Niagara Falls.
   The switch will be flipped on Nov. 5 turning on “Canada’s foremost illumination festival” in Niagara Falls.
   The Winter Festival of Lights will shine brightly through the “holiday season” and until Jan. 31, attracting more than a million visitors.
   It features more than 125 animated lighting displays and three-million tree and ground lights along a six-kilometre route within the Niagara Parks winter wonderland.
   This includes the Enchantment of Disney displays and the huge Canada-U.S. flag illuminated in the border city.
   There’s ice skating at the Rink at the Brink, holiday displays throughout the city and special events including fireworks over the falls.
   Some 30,000 people are expected for the free outdoor New Year’s Eve party with entertainment and fireworks at 9 p.m. and midnight.
   The Christmas Concert Series features Daniel O'Donnell and Mary Duff, Ray Stevens and Lorrie Morgan, and Ronnie Prophet and Glory-Anne Carriere.
   There is no charge to view the illuminations but donations are “gratefully accepted,” with a suggestion of $5 to $10 a car. www.wfol.com; 1-800-563-2557

   Ah, the great outdoors
   The Fall Cottage Life Show returns as one of four shows in one on Nov. 25 to 27 at the International Centre in Mississauga.
  Visitors to the Great Outdoors and DIY show can see numerous do-it-yourself projects in action.
   Not just for cottagers, the consumer show also includes the Great Outdoors and DIY (Do It Yourself) Weekend as well as the Canadian Home Workshop Show.
   This is the only place where you can “catch a fish, discover winter pastimes like
snowshoeing and ice fishing, ride a zipline, plus get tips on how to improve the
value of your home or cottage,” said publicist Peggy Sheffield.
   Visitors can also see “inspiring woodworking projects and try the coolest new tools,” she added, noting there will be about 400 exhibitors.
   “Boston Rob” Mariano, winner of Survivor: Redemption Island, will be at the show competing in challenges.
   For children there are “whimsical playhouses” in the Kids Crooked Christmas Village while Santa also be there.
   Hours are Nov. 25, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Nov. 26, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Nov. 27, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
   Admission is $15 ($13 online); $8, ages 13 to 17; free to age 12; $23, weekend pass. Free parking. www.greatoutdoorsDIY.com


Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com

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