It’s time for festive fun in Haldimand County!

It’s time for festive fun in Haldimand County!

The snow has fallen, Christmas music is playing, and here in Caledonia and surrounding area, the holidays are in full swing. What better way to take advantage of this beautiful time of year than at one of these exciting events?

Christmas Tours at Ruthven Park National Historic Site

Enjoy an afternoon stroll through the principle rooms of the Thompson family home. Visitors will experience a variety of time periods that the family celebrated over the years. On December 10, don’t miss the Scottish Tea and Tour beginning at 2 p.m. There will be a Tia McGraff Christmas Concert on December 15 at 6:30 p.m. Back by popular demand, the Christmas at Ruthven Candlelight Tours will take place on December 17 and 21 beginning at 7 p.m. Price of admission varies for each event. Call all 905-772-0560 or visit the website at www.ruthvenparknationalhistoricsite.com for more info.

Hagersville Santa Claus Parade – December 8

Line the streets with family, friends and neighbours to help usher in the holiday season! The parade will begin at 6 p.m. The procession will follow Parkview Road to King Street East to Main Street South.

Breakfast with Santa – December 9

Meet the man in red at the Jarvis Community Centre and enjoy a delicious breakfast with family, neighbours and friends. Hosted by the Jarvis Lions Club. Call 519-587-4849 to register.

Cottonwood Mansion Christmas Dinner – December 17

Step back in time at beautiful Cottonwood Mansion and enjoy a fabulous catered meal just in time for Christmas season. Price per adult is $25 and $12.50 for children twelve and under, and includes a full Christmas dinner. Reservations are required. Call 905-776-2538 before December 12 to book your table at the mansion!

Caledonia Christmas Farmer’s Market – December 21

Shop local for all sorts of local products at the final Farmers’ Market of 2017. Held in the Canadian Tire parking lot from 3 – 7 p.m.

Tim Hortons Free Public Skate – December 23, 24, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31

Head to arenas in Caledonia, Dunnville, Cayuga and Hagersville to ring in the New Year with a free family skate! Check the website at www.haldimandcounty.on.ca for skate times.

Organizing your closet

Organizing your closet

While we were fortunate to enjoy some unseasonably warm days during October, November has arrived and it’s only a matter of time before the snow starts falling. With the arrival of frosty weather comes the need to switch over our wardrobes from summer to winter, presenting the perfect opportunity to organize closets and dressers!

The first step is purging. As you sort through clothing, be honest with yourself and look at which items did not get worn this summer. If an item doesn’t fit or is no longer fashionable, throw it away or set it aside for donation. The same goes for accessories. Take some time to sort through shoes, belts, scarves and jewelry, tossing items that have seen better days or just aren’t your style anymore. If you have a smaller closet and extra storage space elsewhere, move off-season clothes to a separate location. There’s no need to take up space with bathing suits, cover ups, beach hats and sandals so if it’s an option, store these items elsewhere until the spring.

Once you have pared down your wardrobe, decide if your closet would benefit from an organization system. When you have a proper place for everything, and put everything back where it belongs, you will have success in keeping your closet clean and organized all winter long. When setting up your new system, keep the items you use the most accessible and put things used less frequently at the back or on a top shelf out of the way. Set up clothing by colour, type (work, casual, active wear etc.) or by category (pants, dresses, shirts, etc.) – choose what works for you. Whatever you decide, keep the system simple so it can be easily maintained on a daily basis.

Another storage space that will likely need some attention is your front hall closet. Pack away sandals and water shoes, light spring jackets and anything else that has gathered over the past six months. Go through your winter wear items and be sure that gloves and mittens have a match and items are in good shape before adding them back into the mix. Now is also a good time to replace hangers or your shoe rack if needed.

Decorate your home for Halloween

Decorate your home for Halloween

Do you love driving around your neighbourhood during late October and checking out the ghostly and gruesome Halloween decorations? Thinking of upping your game this year?  With plenty of time to get crafty before October 31, make this the year to go all out and enter the running for the street’s creepiest house!

Here are 8 spooktacular ideas for creating a spine-chilling Halloween home:

  1. Remove your doormat and use black duct tape to create a spider web on your front porch.
  2. Cut eye holes in empty toilet paper rolls, insert a glow stick in each and strategically place in bushes around your yard.
  3. Think large scale and drape spider webs from your eavestrough down to your front porch. Make or buy some massive spiders (you can find instructions for creating your own on Pinterest) and place the creepy crawlers in the web.
  4. Use some discarded Barbies or other dolls (you can find them at your local thrift shop) to create an army of zombie dolls. Use grey paint on their faces, mess up their hair and remove a few limbs for the full effect!
  5. Nothing says Halloween like swirling fog! Make your own fog machine with a few simple ingredients. You’ll need pure gylcerin, distilled water, an empty 2 litre bottle, a small tin foil pie tin and a couple other easy-to-find supplies to create your DIY fog machine. Check online for detailed instructions.
  6. Instead of a red carpet entry, offer your guests a faux blood-stained pathway! Cut 3-foot strips from an old, white sheet or drop cloth and lay along your front walkway a few hours before trick-or-treaters start arriving. Step in red paint with bare feet and add some bloodied footprints and splatter some more red paint for a little extra gore.
  7. To create the illusion of desperate folks trying to escape your home, cut out forearm/handprints from black bristol board and affix to windows. Use dim lighting for the desired effect.
  8. For a weird and whimsical look, shape chicken wire into ghostly figures, spray with glow in the dark paint and place on your front lawn.

You can find plenty of exciting ideas for Halloween decorating at http://www.countryliving.com/diy-crafts/g1370/outdoor-halloween-decorations/.

October events in Caledonia

October events in Caledonia

The month of October brings with it crisp, cool mornings, the vibrant colours of autumn and a slew of fun (and creepy!) events to the Haldimand area!

Grand Caledonia Half Marathon and 5K- October 7

Race day has almost arrived! Whether you’re planning to be a participant or a spectator, Caledonia Fairgrounds is the place to be on October 7 as the runners hit the rural roads of Haldimand! The L’il Pumpkin 1K race will take place inside the Fairgrounds for children 12 and under. Participants will earn their very own medal and a mini pumpkin to decorate and take home! Visit www.grandcaledonia.ca to register for the half marathon, 5K and 1K races.

Creepy Caledonia Ghost Tours – October 7, 21, 27

Discover all about Caledonia’s haunted history on a guided, lantern-lit walking tour of downtown, featuring local stories, legends and folklore. Cost is $5 per person, children under 3 are free. Free parking at the Fairgrounds. Event starts at 7 p.m.

21st Annual Cars in the Park Vintage Car Show – October 9

If you have a soft spot for all things automotive, don’t miss the Cars in the Park Vintage Show at Ruthven Park! In 2016, over 500 cars travelled to Ruthven Park for this event. Enjoy outdoor tours, trail walks, displays, door prizes, and tours of the Thompson Mansion. Admission is $10.

Ghost Walk and Dark History Tour – October 27

Tour the Thompson Mansion at Ruthven Park and keep your eyes peeled for playful little Bessie on the stairs, dread in the parlour and the ghost of a famous actor! Multiple tours will be offered from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m.  Admission is $17 for adults, $10 for kids 13 and under. Parking is free with your tour ticket! Visit www.ghostwalks.com to register.

Ruthven’s For the Birds Festival – October 21

Our feathered friends take centre stage at this annual event! There will be fun activities for the whole family, including a Bird Census Walk, a birding workshop and much more. Festival begins at sunrise and refreshments will be offered. Visit http://ruthvenparknationalhistoricsite.com for more information.

Closing your cottage and protecting it for the winter months

Closing your cottage and protecting it for the winter months

September has arrived and, while we’re still enjoying warm, sunny days, the end of summer is inevitable and it will soon be time to close up the cottage for the frosty winter season. There are also a number of tasks that recreational property owners need to tackle in order to protect their cottage from the elements, wildlife and would-be thieves.

• Before turning off the electricity, go room to room to turn off and unplug all electrical devices.

• Drain the plumbing system to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting.

• Drain the water tank. Remember to turn off the power supply to the water heater before draining to avoid damage to the heating element.

• Leave the refrigerator door open slightly to avoid nasty smells come springtime. Be sure to remove all food from the cottage.

• Lock windows or board them and safely secure all entry points. Pay close attention to patio doors (use a security bar) and beef up your deadbolt and entry doors if they haven’t been replaced in decades.

• Remove all valuable possessions from your cottage. Prepare for the worst – do not keep jewelry, pricey electronics, family heirlooms or expensive artwork in your cottage during the off-season.

• Turn to any neighbours who remain up north all year long and ask them to keep an eye on your property and do a closer inspection every so often.

• Store boats, jet skis, paddle boats and any other recreational ‘toys’ in a secure, locked building. Add a couple motion-activated lights, which might help scare off unwanted visitors.

• A security system is an excellent deterrent to would-be thieves. Do some research to find out if there is a local monitoring station that covers your area.

By taking a few easy steps at the end of the season, you can ensure that your cottage will be just as you left it when you return next summer!

The Caledonia Fall Fair celebrates its 145th year

The Caledonia Fall Fair celebrates its 145th year

It’s that time of year again! Planning for the 2017 Caledonia Fall Fair has been underway for months and this year, it’s all about honouring this great country we call home! ‘Celebrating the Maple Leaf’ is the theme and there are a variety of special highlights that will help us do just that.

The Caledonia Fall Fair is celebrating its 145th year in 2017. Everyone can look forward to four, fun-filled days of excitement, entertainment, tasty food, crafts and more! The fair will be held September 28 through October 1 at the Caledonia Fairgrounds on Highway 54.

Other highlights include karaoke, horse and livestock competitions and demonstrations, magic shows, a demolition derby, baby and pet show, a Kids’ Zone, exhibits, craft and baking competitions, midway and so much more. Visit the website at www.caledoniafair.ca for a full schedule of events.

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