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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Critters take over festivals in Tillsonburg, Thamesford and Woodstock

Lauren Green is shown at the Springbank Snow Countess statue in Woodstock. (Photo by Ruth Ann Rule - Tourism Oxford)

   One-Tank Trip for June 18/11

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Oxford County is coming out of its shell, going to the dogs and “moo-ving” ahead with upcoming critter festivals.
   A new event is Tillsonburg's Turtlefest while some 1,000 dachshunds will be in Thamesford for Wienerfest and Cowapolooza 10 will rock Woodstock this summer.
Turtles are lining up on a log in the sun for the first Turtlefest in Tillsonburg. (Photo by Cathy Bingham, Tourism Oxford)
   Turtlefest finally arrives
   Tillsonburg's founder George Tillson would be proud to know about Turtlefest and how his town is doing these days.

   In fact, he might even be attending the first-ever annual event on June 25 in a reincarnated state.
   After all, he vowed to return one day as a turtle to see how his town was prospering. 
   Several years after his passing in 1862, a giant turtle was found on the banks of Otter Creek near the Tillson homestead.
   Remembering his promise, Tillsonburg residents took the turtle to the downtown area and everyone was invited to come to see “George” and let him know how the town had prospered.
   "Come out of your shell and join the fun,” said Patricia Phelps, of the Turtlefest committee.
   It will be a “fun-filled day for the whole family, from turtle stories and crafts to a convertible car show and our geo-cache turtle walk,” she added.
   There’s also a reading by Franklin the Turtle author Paulette Bourgeois, a cruise car show with a Turtle Wax car-care demonstrations, turtle races and swim, entertainment, an “all-ages” street dance, open-air movie and more.

   Children will be entertained with turtle stories, games and crafts along with a Franklin the Turtle look-a-like contest.
   Food includes a waffle and sausage breakfast starting at 8 a.m., barbecue with turtle beans, turtle sweets baking contest, community yard sale and garage sale as well as musical entertainment.

   Hot dog, it’s Wienerfest
All the dashies want to be an Oscar Meyer wiener, at least posing in the wienermobile.

   Wienerfest has become a howling success over the past 10 years, now attracting 1,000 or so dachshunds from around the world to Thamesford, northwest of Woodstock.
   The event on June 25 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Lion's Cold Springs River Walkway Park along the Thames River is billed as the “largest gathering of dachshunds ever in Canada.”
   “It’s cool for dog lovers and photographers alike – a real fun outing,” said Cathy Bingham of Tourism Oxford.
   “Is it about dogs dressed to the nines or is it about hot dogs with all the best dressings?” she added.
   The “dashies,” guided by their well-behaved owners, take part in a variety of events including costume contests, bobbing for wieners, wiener races, musical paws and the hunt is on.
OK, another one. This is Smoke, a two-year-old miniature dachshund owned by Elayne Crozier. (Photo by Elayne Crozier)
   There are also new events called hide a  squirrel and a yogurt licking contest.

   “Dachshunds of all sizes, shapes and colours actively participate and insist their owners bring them each year,” said publicist Elayne Crozier.
   As well, the d
ashies “run to get their photos taken in the wienermobile and show off their best side,” she added.
Four dachshunds along with owners Elayne Crozier, left, and Linda Collier, organizer of Wienerfest, right
   The event is put on by volunteers in association with Helping Homeless Pets and Tiny Paws Dog Rescue.
   The festival will have some 45 vendors with a variety of products and services ranging from dog food and health treatment to obedience training and clothing.
   Dachshunds take part in an agility course race at Wienerfest.
   Watch also for “fun events,” including “How does your wiener measure up?” the longest travelled dog, a look-a-like contest and canine idol.

   Holy cow for Cowapolooza
   Where better to hold a polooza to celebrate the moo cow than in Woodstock?
   Known as the “Dairy Capital of Canada” and COW being an acronym for the city, this 10-year-old event in Southside Park from Aug. 12 to 14 is “all about cow food, cow games and cow entertainment,” Bingham said.
Contestants at Cowapolooza compete in a traditional cow milking contest for the coveted “Springbank Snow Countess Cup."
   Brad Janssen, manager of community services, sums it up as a “free, fun family event that includes an old-school cow milking contest, two open-air concerts, a soap box derby, food, rides and a ton of fun.”
   There will be a Strongman/women competition, fire muster and firefighter games, and professional wrestling featuring former WWE superstar Derek Couch aka Robbie McAllister from Oxford competing for the Bovine Belt.
    April Wine will perform along with Don Thompson of Woodstock and tribute artists including a Paul McCartney tribute band and comedian Mat Gauthier.


   If you go:
   - Turtlefest: www.turtlefest.ca; (519) 842-2294; pphelps@tillsonburg.ca
   - Wienerfest: www.wienerfest.ca; (519) 285-5123; info@wienerfest.com
   - Cowapolooza: www.cowapolooza (519) 539-1291, Ext. 4102; bjanssen@city.woodstock.on.ca
   - Oxford County: www.tourismoxford.ca; 1-866-801-7368; tourism@county.oxford.on.ca

Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com

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