Summer celebrations abound in Haldimand and Norfolk

By MPP Bobbi Ann Brady

Summer holds a special meaning for Canadians – in a typical year it represents sunshine, warm weather and a break from the cold dreariness of long winters.

Officially, summer begins on the summer solstice, June 21 this year. Unofficially, many of us look at a time after the Victoria Day weekend as the start to summer. This is when farmers begin planting fragile crops in earnest and when days with short-sleeved weather begins. Victoria Day is the oldest official holiday, being declared as a holiday by the Legislature of the Province of Canada in 1845.

It took less than a year after the signing of the British North American Act on July 1, 1867, which made Canada a country, for the Governor General of the day to request all Canadians celebrate July 1. In 1879, a federal law made “Dominion Day” a statutory holiday, and this continued after it became Canada Day in 1982.

If May 24 is the prelude to summer, there’s no doubt Canada Day is looked at as the time summer is in full swing. Locally, I’m kept hopping to make parades in both Caledonia and Port Dover on July 1, but the crowds are always astounding and in good spirit.

It’s a rootin’ tootin’ good time when the 7th annual Norfolk Pro Rodeo comes to the Timmerman’s Ranch on Nixon Road, between Nixon and Rattlesnake Harbour on July 19-21. I’ve been practising my horseback riding of late, and maybe I will get a chance to put my cowgirl skills to work on a bronco or bull. Jason Blaine will take to the stage Saturday night. More information is available at

Hot off the presses, details were just released last week for Cayuga Kinsmen Tailgate Summer Fest on the weekend of July 20. Some top-notch entertainment is on tap.

On the August long weekend, August 3, 4 and 5, it’s Haldimand County’s turn for celebrating our agriculture heritage with the Walpole Antique Farm Machinery Association’s Heritage Days in Jarvis. . This is a busy weekend, with the Simcoe Heritage Friendship Festival taking place in the downtown parks. Art and craft vendors and a wide variety of local musical talent showcase the county’s artistic side at this event

Staying on the artsy side, Port Dover Summer Festival, aka Art in the Park, takes place in the lakeside town on Aug. 16-18. The event, which is organized by the Port Dover Board of Trade, also features antique vendors.

Turkey Point’s annual Summerfest, August 8-11, is a celebration of all things beach. Barbecues, corn hole, and my favourite the car show, are all part of the weekend. Beach volleyball and castle sculpting on Sunday literally take the festivities to the beach.

The Dunnville Fair, put on by The Dunnville Agricultural Society, will take on a new one-day format this year and move to a new location at the Dunnville Arena. The fair will take place Aug. 3, 2024.

Jarvisfest is growing, with a midway added this year. Taking place Aug. 16-18, the festival features food and rib trucks, live music and a parade. The beer tent will feature local brewers.

There are some new events at Long Point Region Conservation Area’s Backus Mill, plus events at other parks. Christmas in July on July 20 and Field to Flour and Field to Fabric on Aug. 3 are highlights. The War of 1812 re-enactment is returning in September after a five-year hiatus.  Visit for more information.

Throughout the summer, farmer’s markets are held throughout Haldimand and Norfolk. Ensure you check out the freshest our farmers have to offer at these weekly events. Museums in both counties also host a variety of events throughout the summer as well.

The name says it all with the Summer’s End Festival in Hagersville on the Saturday of the Labour Day weekend. In Norfolk, Port Rowan’s Bayfest on Aug. 30, September 2 and 3 is a great way to end the summer, with one of the largest parades outside of Canada Day. With all of these events, Haldimand-Norfolk is a great place to be.

Please note we did our best to research all these events, but if we missed anything contact my office and I will promote your special event on social media. Enjoy all Haldimand-Norfolk has to offer over the summer.

Bobbi Ann Brady is MPP for Haldimand and Norfolk