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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Stratford joins with St. Marys and Shakespeare - even Punkydoodles Corners - for the Spring Heritage Festival, June 3 to 5

One-Tank Trip for May 28/11
   There’s lots of shopping along Ontario Street in Stratford's designated heritage district
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Stratford and two nearby communities that are bursting with history and interesting things to see and do roll out a Spring Heritage Festival next weekend (June 3 to 5).
   Shakespeare and St. Marys join with Stratford to show off their rich heritage that takes centre stage during the festival.
   “Stratford’s heritage district, filled with some of the best 19th-century homes, churches, commercial and civic buildings in Canada, offers the ideal setting for a weekend of exploring, learning and strolling,” said Cathy Rehberg of the Stratford Tourism Alliance.

   “Shakespeare is renowned for its quality antique shops and St. Marys for its unique limestone architectural character,” she added.
   This is the first time the three communities are joining for the event, with “lots of interesting things for everyone to see and do.”

   The curtain rises for Stratford’s events
   There will be a tour of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival’s archives along with displays of rarely seen costumes and accessories during the Spring Heritage Festival. (Handout photos - Stratford Tourism Alliance)
   Discover nearly 60 years of Stratford Shakespeare Festival history at the world's largest performing arts archives dedicated to a single theatre.
   Archives director Francesca Marini leads a tour at 10 a.m. on Saturday and presents rare archival footage from the collection dating back to 1953. (No charge; reserve a spot, 1-800-567-1600)
   Experience local brewing history on a guided pub crawl with a haunted twist on Sunday at 2 p.m.
   There will be a tour of six historic pubs and sampling a local micro-brew at each stop, and the telling of spooky tales of ghosts haunting the downtown.
   The weekend includes guided walks, including one along the river on Sunday at 10:30 a.m., to reveal historic landmarks, railway history and infamous personalities.
   Visitors can enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride through the Victorian streets while there’s the Heritage Antique Show at the William Allman Memorial Arena (admission is $5.)
   Gallery Stratford presents a photography slideshow by Elizabeth Davidson, a continuation of the Stratford Perth Museum exhibit called the Doors of Perth County.
   Over at the Stratford Antique Warehouse is an opportunity to “marvel at the evolution of tractor power,” while the Stratford-Perth Archives is the place to research a family tree with local genealogy experts.
   Savour local culinary heritage with a Ploughman’s lunch -- a “dry” box version at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church where there’s a tour and heritage talk by Lutzen Riedstra or the “wet” version at Foster’s Inn paired with a Mill Street brew and talk.
   The Stratford Railway Heritage Show on Sunday marks its 10th anniversary with a steam traction engine on display along with model railways, exhibits, heritage talks, books and videos at the Stratford Rotary Complex.
York Street in Stratford is a popular boutique shopping area
   In Shakespeare, Punkeydoodles Corners . . .
   Activities start at Wild Violet Pottery where the Canada Company first settled, along the old Huron Road near Punkeydoodles Corners.
   There will be a collective show of Anagama Kiln wood-fired pottery on Friday starting at 7 p.m. and continuing through the weekend.
   This is an ancient type of pottery kiln brought to Japan from China via Korea in the fifth century.
   A Shakespeare Heritage Stroll will introduce visitors to the characters that established this hamlet, the antique shops and historic points of interest.
   Free tours leave from the Shakespeare Presbyterian Church on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Jonnys Antiques in Shakespeare will welcome visitors during the Spring Heritage Festival
   The Perth County Welcome Centre and Artisan Market will show “rarely seen heritage films” of the county along with artifacts and displays, along with holding a pork barbecue from noon to 2 p.m.
   There will be guided tours of the historic Fryfogel Inn built by Perth County's first settler, Sebastian Fryfogel, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
   Experts from the Perth County Historical Foundation will present the history of the settlement of the area and the seminal place the inn held at that time.
Castle Kilbride is a national treasure of artistic, historical and architectural significance
    Castle Kilbride National Historic Site presents Dramatically Dressed: Victorian Costumes from Stratford Festival Productions.
   Visitors can view rarely seen costumes and accessories from notable festival productions on display throughout the 1877 historic home on Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

   Tall tales, stories in St. Marys
   The festival includes the annual Once Upon a Thames Storytelling Festival in St. Marys.
   Performer Charly Chiarelli will entertain at the Saturday Farmers’ Market while others will be at the Artisan Tent along with a concert at Milt Dunnell Field.
   There will also be a Memoir Writing workshop led by writer-storyteller Ivan Coyote on Saturday morning.

   If you go:
   Many of the events in each community are free to attend while others ask for a “nominal” fee or donation.
   Details: http://visitstratford.ca/spring/heritage.html; 1-800-561-7926

Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com 

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