Festivals and Events

Cancelled Festivals in the age of Covid-19

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Everything is Cancelled

(for now)

It's a sign of the times, during Covid-19 Pandemic
Cancelled….for now

This is the sign-up at the church/community centre in the tiny town near our acreage. And it about sums up the situation. While I wholeheartedly support #flattenthecurve (or #cattenthecurve), I am still disappointed to see all of the fairs and festivals cancelled due to Covid-19.

THEY ARE DOING THE RIGHT THING, but I am still sad. I LOVE traditions, and my year passes marked by different predictable events.

Support Small Towns

Maple syrup festivals mark early Spring. We would go to the “World’s largest one-day maple syrup festival” in Elmira, ON for many years. After moving East, near Prince Edward County, this past summer, I looked forward to attending Warkworth’s maple syrup festival. Warkworth is a charming town with an exceptional bakery, great farm store, and beautiful café. The Main street is lined with unique, quirky, and interesting shops. I had high hopes for their maple syrup festival.

Fall Fairs

The transition through Summer to my favourite season, Fall, is typically marked by the Fall Fair season. I attended Stirling’s Water Buffalo Festival last Fall and loved it. What a fantastic way to start to get to know my new area – attend a quirky festival! Stirling is home to a huge Water Buffalo farm with a shop attached, and the fair consists of many local vendors selling water buffalo-related items. This fair is a quintessentially small-town event. I just learned today that it, too is cancelled for 2020.


The highlight of my year is our annual road trip to see “Evil Dead the Musical” in a different city, often combined with our annual trip to Salem, MA to have our witch-themed photos taken. Unfortunately, I doubt either of these will happen this year. Although a tiny inconvenience compared to a pandemic, it still feels like a crushing disappointment. In my first year on the farm, I hope to have a large garden (I have been constructing a rock wall to keep it safe from our myriad of wild animals); perhaps I will have an abundance and can have a fall harvest celebration with the rest of the Roguetrippers?

Farm Living

One farm project is to overhaul a dilapidated shed into a photo studio. Perhaps this will be ready for us to recreate our own witch photos? Whatever else gets cancelled, whatever else we miss, more than anything, I look forward to the day when Roguetrippers can be reunited – back in the car in search of an adventure, though likely this will be on the northern side of the 49th parallel.

author: Heather Parsons


Festivals and events are a massive deal for the communities that put them on. They draw in hundreds and tens of thousands of visitors from far and wide who come to these communities with a shared passion. These visitors pour millions of dollars into the local economies, and festivals can be the lifeblood of these towns and neighbourhoods. So, when planned festivals get cancelled, the impacts can be disappointing for travellers but devastating to the organizers, communities, and vendors.

Just some of the already cancelled festivals that we had planned to attend this year are:

Elmira Maple syrup Festival

Held yearly in Elmira, Ontario, Maple Syrup Festival marks the unofficial start of spring for locals in Southern Ontario. We are lucky to live very close to this town and look forward to attending the “World’s Largest Maple Syrup Festival” in the future. For now, we can visit many producers and purchase local maple syrup from the farmers directly.

Vermont Maple Syrup Festival

Another fantastic maple syrup festival – this one held in St Albans, Vermont. We first attended this festival a few years ago – and it made for an excellent excuse for a road trip adventure. We had not visited Vermont before. So this was our introduction to a beautiful state, with so much see and experience.


If you love the Wizard of Oz series of books and movies, you will want to visit the small town of Chittenango, in Upstate New York. This town is the birthplace of author L. Frank Baum, and every year the village of Chittenango holds a huge festival to honour their hometown hero. There are parades, costume contests, celebrities, and an oz marketplace. We first attended this festival in 2015, when Gregory Maguire – the author of Wicked, and Ken Page – of the WIZ, were in attendance.

Ontario’s Largest Butter Tart Festival

It is no secret we love butter tarts. We have attended this festival in Midland, ON many times during its 7-year history. And in 2019, I was invited to be a judge. The cancellation of this event is one of the most devastating for me personally because of my love of the iconic Canadian treat. However, I can continue the butter quest by taking day trips to visit many of the bakeries that would have been at the Butter Tart Festival. To show my support for the festival that means so much to me, I purchased their “Social Distancing” butter tart t-shirts. With the purchase of the t-shirts, $15  will be donated to @gbghfoundation, with Corsica Homes matching the donation to $1,500.


Ottawa Tulip Festival

Every year in May, the Capital of Canada holds a multi-day event dedicated to the Tulip. This festival is a Celebration of the Gift of Tulips and Canada’s Role in the Liberation of the Netherlands in WWII. While the tulips still grow, and the events have transitioned online, there is nothing quite like walking through fields and parks filled with hundreds of thousands of tulips of every colour. We first attended the Ottawa Tulip Festival in 2006 and loved it. We felt a good road trip to Ottawa might be in order, and we were looking forward to experiencing the beauty of spring 2020 in our nation’s Capital.

Summer Carnivals

We love a good summer carnival. They are a great way to enjoy a day out, have fun, and eat fabulous Carnival Eats. They are typically agriculturally based, and often there are farm animals on site, which is always fun for us. We will attend many summer carnivals in communities across Ontario during the summer.

Craft Beer Festivals

We love craft beer, and nothing is better than a cold brew on a hot summer day. When there is a craft beer festival, we often get in the car and check it out. We attend a lot of these festivals in a year. Craft Beer festivals are an excellent opportunity to try many different breweries in one spot and discover new tastes. We often get inspired for future road trips here to head out to the craft brewery locations.

We hope the world heals from Covid-19 soon. and the festivals and events will be able to take place once again. They are Roguetrippers’ primary travel inspirations. However, stay safe, say home, and maintain social distancing for now.
Don’t forget to support the small businesses in your local area.

author: Greg Bellefontaine

Dogs. Travel. Beer. Cocktails. All the important things in life 😊. I am an avid traveller and avid dog handler. I travel for work, for fun, and for dog shows. Regardless of the reason, most of my travel includes my spotted trio: Random, Hazzard, and Danger - The Bedlam Acres Dalmatians, and a few friends. Heather resides in Hastings County, Ontario, and has really embraced country living. She enjoys discovering the beauty and charm of the small towns, discovering the small businesses, farm stores, bakeries, and local makers that make up small-town life.

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