Finally, life feels like it’s returning to normal. We don’t have to wonder if the Rockhound Gemboree will actually happen or if we should bother getting out our boots for the Tweed Stampede. Yes, events are definitely back across Hastings County this summer. And to help you get ready, we’ve put together this guide to 12 events you’ll want to put on your calendar. From Canada Day festivities to music festivals to Marmora’s 200th birthday — it’s time to get back out there.
Off Road Comedy Show
August 6, 3 pm
If you love ATVs and stand-up comedy, the Off Road Comedy Show is for you. The Stirling Festival Theatre is behind this event that will have you riding your ATV on the trails of Stirling-Rawdon to a secret location. There you’ll find some of the country’s finest comedians doing their best to crack you up. Check the theatre’s website for an updated list of comedians and locations. If you can’t make August 6th, there will be two other shows — one on June 25th and one on September 10th. Admission: $30/ATV; $40/side-by-side.
Kegs, Corks and Curds
June 25, 11 am – 5 pm
Farmtown Park, Stirling
What better way to kick off the summer than with samples of local cheese, craft beer, cider, and wine? And what better place to do it than the home of the Hastings County Museum of Agricultural Heritage? This family-friendly event will also have live music, non-cheese food, and demonstrations from a lumberjill, a blacksmith, and a curd maker. Admission: $15.
Canada Day in Deseronto
July 1, 10 am – 9:30 pm
The fireworks will be going off in communities across Hastings County on July 1st, so it may be tough to pick just one place to celebrate Canada’s 155th birthday. Deseronto is a good choice, though. The daylong festivities will include tons of vendors, food, music, and games at Waterside Market capped off by fireworks over Mohawk Bay once the sun goes down. Admission: Free.
Heritage Day at O’Hara Mill Homestead
July 17, 10 am – 4 pm
O’Hara Mill Homestead and Conservation Area, Madoc
If you’ve ever wanted to experience what life was like here in the 19th century, head to Heritage Day at O’Hara Mill. The former homestead of the O’Hara family comes alive with interpretive staff and demonstrations of pioneer life, including sheep-shearing, spinning, hearth-cooking, period farming, blacksmithing, sawmilling, and more. There will be wagon rides and music too, as well as a food booth. Admission: Donation.
Palmer Rapids Twin Music Festival
July 21 – 24
This mighty music festival is back to let the country and bluegrass blast through the hills and valleys of the Hastings highlands. There are two stages this year — one for country, one for bluegrass — and 17 artists on the lineup, including Jason Blaine, Eric Ethridge, and Edgar Loudermilk. Don’t miss the Palmer Rapids Idol Contest on the evening of the 21st. Admission: $40 – $60/day; $110 – $185/festival pass (includes camping).
July 28 – 31
North Hastings Community Centre, Bancroft Curling Club, Bancroft
Calling all rockhounds: the country’s largest gem and mineral show is returning after two years away. Catering to both amateur and serious rock aficionados, the Gemboree welcomes about one hundred dealers from across the globe this year. They’ll be showcasing their gem and mineral specimens, jewelry, crafts, lapidary supplies, and other treasures. There will also be lots of mineral-collecting field trips, demonstrations, and workshops. Admission: $5 – $15/day; $20/two-day pass; $25/three-day pass; $35/four-day pass.
Marmora’s 200th Celebration
July 30, 10 am – 10 pm
Although covid meant the cancellation of Marmora’s 200th birthday last year, the town isn’t one to let a good chance to party go to waste. So, they’re celebrating this year instead. The day kicks off with a breakfast at the community centre, followed by a full day of family activities at the fairgrounds. Think bouncy castles, dunk tanks, games, a talent show, and a craft show. There will be a beer tent and food trucks, too. But the highlight should be at 8 pm, when Canada’s number one Tragically Hip tribute band, Practically Hip, hits the outdoor stage. Admission: Free.
August 12 – 14
The wafts of cotton candy and the sights of technicolour midways will be returning across Hastings County this summer. You’ll have lots of options, but the festivities in Stirling will be great ones to get a good dose of all things fair. From demolition derbies and carnival rides, to food and beer, to live music and beef and goat shows — this one has a bit of everything. Admission: $5 – $35; $40/weekend pass.
August 17 – 28
Bancroft Village Playhouse, Bancroft
Any ABBA fans out there? This wildly popular jukebox musical tells the tale of a young woman’s search for her birth father. ABBA hits like “Dancing Queen” and “Take a Chance on Me” propel that story forward, bringing laughs and explosive dance numbers to a story about growing old, raising kids, and reconciling with the past. Featuring local talent and professional performers, it should be one of the most memorable shows at the Bancroft Village Playhouse this summer. Admission: $27.50 – $37.50.
County Country Music Jamboree
August 25 – 27
Stirling Fairgrounds, Stirling
Get your dancing boots ready for this weekend of country music and good times in the great outdoors. The headliners include Eddie Eastman, Nelson Colt, Emily Clair, Becky Elliott, Scotty Gartshore, Deborah Lynn, Khloe Bertrand, Heartland Country, Dean James, and Big Tobacco & The Pickers. There will also be an open mic on Friday and Saturday morning with The Kawartha Country Drifters. Admission: $25 – $35/day; $70/festival pass (no camping); $100/festival pass (camping).
Tweed Elvis Festival
August 25 – 28
Tweed Fairgrounds, Tweed
Thirty years ago, there was a rumour going around that Elvis Presley wasn’t dead, but living in Tweed. It was never proven, but every August there are a rash of sightings at the Tweed Elvis Festival. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the tribute fest to the King. Nine renowned Elvis tribute artists from Canada and around the world will perform, competing for a coveted spot at Memphis’ Ultimate Elvis contest. Admission: $30 – $55/day; $55 – $120/weekend pass; $100/festival camping pass (doesn’t include festival tickets).
Tweed Stampede and Jamboree
September 2 – 5
Trudeau Park, Tweed
Last, but not least, is this award-winning western lifestyle festival on the banks of Stoco Lake. The rodeo will feature pole bending, bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, barrel racing, and bull riding. There will also be live country music all weekend long, as well as truck pulls, an arm-wrestling competition, mutton busting, a search-and-rescue demonstration, and fireworks. $45 – $90/festival pass; $380 – $420/festival camping pass (includes six festival passes).
For more summer events ideas, stay tuned to hastings.ca/events.