Published on August 3rd, 2018 | by Elizabeth Bromstein

Top 9 Quirky and Lesser Known Ontario Festivals Happening This August.

Looking for something interesting or maybe even a little weird to do this August in Ontario? You’re in luck!

We all know and love the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) and Caribana (we can’t wait). But there are many other fun and fantastic festivals across Ontario, some of which are a bit lesser known, and that pay tribute to wonderful things like cats, garlic and ribs.

Read on to learn about some of the festivals happening this August around our cool and quirky province.

Ancaster International Cat Show, Ancaster.

August 4-5, 2018.

What we’re celebrating: cats.

Cat lovers unite for this awesome display of feline fervor. The International Cat Association (TICA) hosts events all over the world and this annual cat show in Ancaster offers those kitty enthusiasts the chance to see felines – both pedigree and non-pedigree (show quality and non) – compete side by side for titles and honours that are judged based on cleanliness, grooming “and purrsonality.” A celebration of and competition for cats, the Ancaster Cat Show offers the opportunity to learn about various breeds, as well as to shop for treats, pet supplies and toys. There’s also a Feline (themed) Scavenger Hunt!

Kingston Sheep Dog Trials Festival, Kingston.

Aug. 10-12, 2018.

What we’re celebrating: sheep dogs.

Sheep dogs are fun to watch because they look like they’re having so much fun. A Sheep Dog Trial is a timed competition in which sheep dogs – primarily border collies in this case – herd sheep through an obstacle course “with accuracy and efficiency, demonstrating the skills required by working dogs.” The Sheep Dog Trials Fest is a 3-day annual event that attracts over 7,000 spectators to Kingston’s Grass Creek Park. Not just for trialing devotees, the fest also features many side attractions, including police K-9 demonstrations, Canine Bark Camp, Horsemanship demos and the Rideau River DockDogs. There is also a pet fashion show and a craft and artisan vendor’s market.

Fergus Scottish Festival, Fergus.

August 10-12, 2018.

What we’re celebrating: Scottish heritage.

Och, aye. Tagged as a way to enjoy the best of Scotland without the airfare, the Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games celebrates local Scottish heritage and is now in its 73rd year. The fest features Celtic Music, crafts for kids, heavy events competitions, bagpipes, drums, tug of war, bands, Highland dancing, storytelling, singing and more than 100 international vendors. Come for the pipe band and stay for the tea tent.

Perth Garlic Festival, Perth.

August 11-12, 2018.

What we’re celebrating: garlic.

Hurray for garlic! The Garlic Fest began in 1997 and has since become one of Eastern Ontario’s favourite community festivals. This celebration of the “stinking rose” is hosted by the Lions Club of Perth and attracts thousands of “garlic heads” each year. The goal is to promote Ontario-grown garlic and share ideas for growing, harvesting, marketing, cooking and enjoying garlic. Visitors can sample garlic bread, honey garlic butter tarts and garlic ice cream (report back to us, OK?).

Carrot Fest, Bradford West Gwillimbury.

August 17-18, 2018.

What we’re celebrating: the carrot.

Who doesn’t appreciate a good carrot? Bradford West Gwillimbury is one of Canada’s biggest carrot-producing regions and calls itself the “heart of the vegetable industry.” Carrot Fest is a celebration of that heritage and “the role played by the carrot in the local economy.” The festival includes Aqua Dogs, Professional Wrestling, BMX Stunt Shows, a Kids Zone, a market with hundreds of vendors and live stage entertainment. Also, there are free carrots for everyone provided by the Holland Marsh Growers’ Association.

Dundas Cactus Festival, Dundas.

August 17-19, 2018.

What we’re celebrating: cacti.

Now in its 43rd year, the Dundas Cactus Festival is named for the cacti grown by Ben Veldhuis, a Dutch immigrant who used to run a large greenhouse. According to the fest website, these plants were “internationally recognized.” It’s also worth noting that Wikipedia calls Dundas the “cactus capital of the universe.” The free, family-run festival takes place over three days. At the festival, you’ll find cacti-themed planters, baked goods and apparel, as well as four entertainment stages, event zones, street vendors, and a parade.  Vendors and organization fundraisers join in with cacti themed planters, baked goods and apparel.

Tweed Tribute to Elvis Festival, Tweed.

Aug. 24-26, 2018.

What we’re celebrating: Elvis.

You might be familiar with the Collingwood Elvis Festival, which bills itself as the World’s Largest Elvis Festival, but did you know there’s also a Tweed Elvis Festival? This one runs in August and is a preliminary competition between tribute artists for a spot in the Ultimate Elvis Competition in Memphis, Tennessee. The entertainment takes place at venues all over town and the Main Stage Program is an outdoor event. On-site rough camping is available.

Winona Peach Festival.

August 24-26, 2018.

What we’re celebrating: the peach.

It’s peach appreciation time at the Winona Peach Festival, a community event that has been running since humble beginnings on Winona Road in 1967. The volunteer-run festival offers a midway with rides and games, arts and crafts, a “Peach of a Car Show” and entertainment, which includes children’s programming and a “Peach Star Talent Competition.” There are also vendors and a food court offering, of course, many a peachy recipe, including pies, crepes, cobbler and a famous Peach Sundae.

Canada’s Largest Ribfest , Burlington.

August 31 to September 3, 2018.

What we’re celebrating: ribs.

This festival is for those who really love ribs. Canada’s largest ribfest began in 1996 as the Burlington Ribfest, a fundraiser for charities and local programs and services. Now, 22 years later and referred to as Canada’s Largest Ribfest, the event has raised $3 million dollars and is the end of summer celebration for the locals. The giant barbecue party hosts 19 “ribbers” offering BBQ ribs alongside other food vendors and a long lineup of musical acts.

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