The days are shorter, the wind is crisp, and the calendar doesn't lie.
As the curtain looks to fall on the summer of 2012, some Winnipeggers' hearts may be inclined to despair. It's almost time to pack up the cabin, tune up the furnace and send the kids back to school. More bad news: there probably won't be any hockey this fall, which, after a winter of Winnipeg Jets, suddenly seems bleak.
But here's a little seasonal cheer: there is a full slate of events to send off the summer, whether families head down the block or clear down the highway. So now, in the final weekend of August, we offer a sample of just some of the events taking place around Manitoba this weekend, from corn cobs and cider to pioneer games and outdoor picnics.
Saturday and Sunday
Matlock, about 45 minutes north of Winnipeg on Hwy 9
For two blissful days, a 45-acre site near the shores of Lake Winnipeg will play host to any folks that need a little extra rest and relaxation.
Now in its third year, the non-profit festival offers a little something for everyone. Tonight, a birdwatching workshop will take attendees around the pristine natural site; last year, birders spotted 25 different species. On Sunday morning, there will be a special writing workshop. And that's just the beginning: throughout the weekend, visitors can take in yoga classes and crafting workshops, go swimming, rent a kayak, tackle the steps of Brazilian capoeira or just lie back and listen to music.
Seriously, there's going to be lots and lots of music: bluegrass mostly, and folk, from emerging young artists to successful Manitoba music acts such as the Doug and Jess Band. While you're listening (or playing — organizers encourage folks to bring their own instruments), you can browse the festival's very eco-friendly marketplace and nosh on food from the Flying Bison Cafe.
A weekend pass is $25, and day passes are $15. Camping spots are also available for $5 per person, and there will be spots set up for campers to break out the guitars and jam. More information and a full schedule of events is online at Matlockfestival.ca.
Saturday and Sunday
Morden, about 90 minutes south of Winnipeg
The fun got started on Friday, but there's still loads of life left in one of southern Manitoba's hottest family festivals.
Founded in 1967, the Corn and Apple Festival has plenty of both foodstuffs to offer, including fresh apple cider and free buttered sweet corn, grown just for the event by a Morden-area farm. While you're munching, you can check out the rest of the festival, which spans a big chunk of the town: besides buskers, a farmer's market and a midway, there will also be a children's tent with face-painting and a petting zoo set up down the streets.
That's just the beginning. Throughout the day, festivalgoers can join a fossil digging tour, take a historical bus tour of Morden, do a little country line-dancin' and check out a truck and tractor pull. On Sunday, Confederation Park will light the grills for a community barbecue, and classic cars will be on display all weekend at the popular Show'n'Shine.
And of course, there's music: for the kiddies, Fred Penner is taking the stage at 2:30 today. For the grown-ups, Kenny Shields and Streetheart will headline a party full of classic rock and local blues artists tonight. For a taste of what else lies in store, check out CornAndApple.com. Oh, and did we mention that most of the festival's attractions are totally free?
Saturday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
St. John's Park, Main Street at Mountain Avenue
Now in its 13th year, the North End celebration offers a passel of family activities — and all for free, too, thanks to some smart organizing by the North End Community Renewal Corporation.
This year, Blue Bombers James Green and Cory Watson plan to drop in at the day-long party, which was launched as a way to show off the neighbourhood's colourful community. And what colour there will be: the Winnipeg Art Gallery will be on-hand to help kids make masks, the Diamond Disc stunt dogs will be showing off their incredible tricks, and families can gather for storytelling sessions and interactive reading activities.
Dancers from Graffiti Art will be strutting their stuff on the stage, and there will be a traditional performance by the Norman Chief Memorial Dancers as well as musical turns by Tracy Bone and JC Campbell, the Paradize Band and more.
All this entertainment can work up an appetite, so the picnic also features a heaping selection of free food, including deli sandwiches, bannock, samosas and Ukrainian pryishky, and fresh fruit for the whole family.
Sunday, 12 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Cook's Creek Heritage Museum, about 40 minutes northeast of Winnipeg on Hwy 212
It's the 40th anniversary of the community museum's Heritage Day, and Cook's Creek is planning a fete full of historical fun.
The site — which is located just a few kilometres east of Birds Hill Park — is fascinating already, thanks to its collection of early-20th century buildings. But a busy slate of Heritage Day will turn the museum into a hands-on pioneer playground, complete with bread baking, hay rides, and a blacksmithing demonstration. There will even be a scarecrow-making contest, as well as a community market and live bands.
At night, a fully-licensed evening stage will feature a plenty of Polish food as well as performances from artists including Ray St. Germain and Beatles tribute band Free Ride.
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Garden City Shopping Centre
For the very first time, Manitoba's thriving Filipino community will take to the streets to show off their culture — and sizzling up some food.
The mall and its south parking lot will play host to a gala street party, which will feature a parade, cultural exhibits, a trade show and all sorts of food, fun and games. As many as 35 groups and associations are taking place in the inaugural party, which will feature dances and costumes from a diverse cross-section of Filipino communities.