The town of Carberry began what I hope will be an annual tradition with their first heritage festival last weekend. I attended both days and enjoyed myself thoroughly. As an aficionado of Carberry and its heritage I came to appreciate the little town in new ways.
The two blocks of Main Street that comprise Manitoba’s only designated heritage district were blocked off to traffic for the festival with buskers, vendors and information booths set up along the street. Many of the merchants did window displays of antiques representing the early days of their commerce. Penny Shaw, the recently-retired town archivist, gave detailed tours of prominent buildings which were popular with history and heritage seekers of all ages.
One of my cherished memories of the event will be the little girl who walked up to the gigantic stuffed head of a male bison, pulled its beard and said, “It’s just like grandpa’s.”
In spite of cool weather on Friday the festival drew some local and away people to events. High tea was served both days at the Magic Bean Coffee Shop, vintage cars and farm equipment were on display and the strawberry social at the drop-in centre was popular.
On Saturday, the weather improved greatly with sunshine and lots more people in attendance. The ginger snaps from a hundred-year-old recipe at Modern Bakery were delicious, the farmer’s market offered fresh veggies and such, the antique store had other dealers set up their wares and street performers could be heard up and down the block. There was truly a festive air about the little town.
Taxidermist Stewart Bailey, in addition to the buffalo head, had stuffed mink, badger, fisher and wolverine on display. Stewart recounts how a fisher catches and kills a porcupine on my video of the event.
Three men from the Manitoba Muzzleloaders brought a fascinating array of old guns, pioneer equipment and aboriginal items. They fired their muzzle-loaded guns on the hour, echoing down the Main Street and startling more then a few people. See my video for this.
I toured the inside of the old Bank of Montreal building, finding it mostly stripped down to planks, leaving a rather sad feeling that this unique building has been left unused for so long.
I also got a tour of the inside of Carberry’s gingerbread house, built by James White around 1900. I’ve written about it at length and plan to return this summer and do a video tour of the inside.
The Carberry Plains Museum offered lemonade and tours of their fine collection housed in a building constructed by James White for his sash and door factory.
The town and the festival committee are to be commended for a terrific first festival. It had its bugs and its fails but overall the occasion honoured well the town’s past and its present as well. I hope the festival becomes an annual event that builds in popularity and participation.
I created a three and a half minute video of various events at the festival. Click on any of the pictures in this post to watch the video.
For the latest info on our festival check out http://www.carberryheritagefestival.com