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Carberry Heritage Festival 2015


Reid Dickie

See the red serge uniforms of the North West Mounted Police riding against the blue prairie sky. Kick up your heels to the music of Mark Morisseau, the best Métis fiddler in the land. Have flashbacks watching the retro fashion show of glad rags spanning the 20th century. Smell the sweet aroma of heavy horses as they pull the elegant carriage you are riding in. Those are just a few of the experiences awaiting visitors to the Third Annual Carberry Heritage Festival, Friday and Saturday August 7 and 8, 2015.

“The festival is becoming more diverse every year,” says Cathy Drayson, president of the festival board. ” We’ve added lots of new elements for 2015. It’s exciting to find new ways of defining and presenting our local heritage that’s fun for all ages.”

Highlights of the festival include a NWMP re-enactment troupe complete with horses and riders dressed in the iconic red serge uniforms, along with other period costumes, a display of artifacts from the late 1800s, a rope maker and a campfire donuts demonstration.

Another highlight is the vintage fashion show on Saturday with live models wearing duds spanning the decades from flapper dresses and wide ties to ultra-cool Fifties sleek suits and tight dresses, Sixties flare pants and love beads to those ghastly Eighties prom dresses, all with appropriate music, of course.

Popular last year, horse-drawn carriage rides through historic Carberry are back as well as guided walking tours of the town and cemetery. Workshops and demonstrations include rug hooking, fermented foods, vintage cars, trucks and implements, tree trimming, antique quilt show and a display of animals and birds from Rare Breeds Canada.

Enjoy an old fashioned strawberry social and Ernest Thompson Seton’s birthday party, cut a rug to Mark Morisseau and his band at the old time dance and browse our vendors featuring jewelry, honey, local publications, fabric art and a large flea market. Buskers and other entertainers along with a bouncy house and mural painting will amuse kids of all ages. The festival concludes Saturday evening with a swim and a movie at the Carberry Rec Centre.

To accommodate the festival, one block of Main Street will be closed to traffic. Events begin at 2:00 pm on Friday and 10:00 am on Saturday. Most events are free.

For family fun and warm country hospitality don’t miss Carberry’s Third Annual Heritage Festival Friday and Saturday August 7 and 8, 2015. For updates on festival  events check out http://www.carberryheritagefestival.com

Carberry is located 42 kms east of Brandon on the Trans-Canada Highway and 3 kms south on Hwy #5.

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Carberry Report Spring 2015


Reid Dickie

The Carberry Heritage Festival received some good news this week. In addition to confirming several events for the festival, they were awarded $2300 in federal grant money. The grant, from Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage, a branch of  Canadian Heritage, will help the festival expand its roster of local artisans and performers as well as aid in promoting the two-day festival slated for August 7 and 8, 2015.

I’m helping out again this year acting as publicist for the festival. As more artisans, performers and events are confirmed, watch the festival website for updates. http://www.carberryheritagefestival.com You can also find them on Facebook.

As you can see in the picture above, something is afoot with the old Bank of Montreal on Carberry’s Main Street. Wooden hoarding, scaffolding and debris netting cover the facade. The old pile has fallen into severe disrepair lately and there are concerns that pieces of it have started falling off. A sad situation for a unique building. When I asked around Carberry what was happening to the bank, the responses were quite vague. Public safety is an obvious concern but something else is going on as well. Stay tuned for future reports.

IMG_2265Just west of Carberry, off PR #351, Camp Hughes, the World War 1 training camp, is undergoing a transformation this year. Currently all that marks the spot is a government plaque and a self-guiding walking tour. Friends of Camp Hughes have told me that plans are underway to add a kiosk to the site providing more detailed information about its history. They hope to have it completed by their annual Camp Hughes Day in late summer.


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Carberry Heritage Festival A Success!


Reid Dickie

Carberry’s 2nd Annual Heritage Festival drew bigger crowds on both days and had greater community support causing organizers to deem it a huge success.

Many of the new features such as horse-drawn carriage rides around historic Carberry and musical performances were very popular.

Dates for the 2015 festival are August 7 and 8. Check out the Carberry Heritage Festival website

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Before the Bullet – How To Load & Fire a Flintlock Muzzle-Loaded Long Gun

Snapshot 1 (16-08-2013 9-55 PM)

Reid Dickie

In the evolution of firearms the change from muzzleloaded guns to cartridges where spark, charge and projectile were contained in a single unit, in a bullet, was a future attractor so powerful that it shaped civilization.  Before the bullet, there were muzzleloaders and there still are.

At the Carberry Heritage Festival I had the pleasure of meeting Chuck Vidnes and Arthur Ingram, members of the Manitoba Muzzleloaders Association. The display of their long guns was a festival highlight. At the top of every hour they fired off two rounds which echoed down the main drag, startling everyone a little and drawing attention.

Snapshot 1 (16-08-2013 10-52 PM)

The guns they fired were both muzzleloaders, Chuck’s is a flintlock and Arthur’s is a percussion, both reproductions of earlier weapons. At the 3:00 firing Chuck explained how his gun is loaded and fired as I recorded him. Click any of the pictures to watch the 2:42 video. Arthur’s gun was a later development in muzzleloaders. It used a cap over a nipple which when struck set off the charge, rather like a cap gun.


I asked Chuck how many members the club has and how many are female. “We are a limited club with 60 memberships. Some are family memberships which means spouses and children so there are actually quite a few more than 60 persons,” says Chuck. “I don’t know how many are female but quite a few, maybe 30% or more are actively involved with the club and shoot on a regular basis. Our club is an associate club within the Manitoba Wildlife Federation and a member of Canada’s National Firearms Association. We are an incorporated club and our official name is Manitoba Muzzleloaders Brandon Chapter Inc.”

Both Chuck and Art, who live in the Carberry area, said they’ve had an interest in guns from an early age and enjoy the camaraderie that comes with specialty guns like muzzleloaders. They use the guns for target shooting – there is a shooting range near Carberry – as well as hunting and demonstrations. Their black powder club meets regularly, often drawing 30 participants to a shoot.

Watch a demonstration of how to load and fire a muzzleloader.

I thank Chuck and Art for sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm with me.

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Carberry Festival Deemed A Success, Will Be Annual Event


Reid Dickie

Great news for heritage buffs! The Carberry Heritage Festival Committee had its final meeting this week and decided there will be a second annual festival next year!

Cathy Drayson, one of the committee members, said the merchants and the townspeople were very happy with the turnout and results of the festival. It brought many new faces to town, helped support local businesses and gave Manitoba’s heritage gem a higher profile.

“I think it went very well and we’re hearing good reports from both locals and those from away,” says Cathy. “We definitely have a few kinks to fix and have come up with some ideas already.”

Personally I’m thrilled the event will continue. Carberry has only begun to exploit its rich and varied history. I’m humbled and grateful to play a small part in publicizing its heritage.

For the latest info on our next festival check out http://www.carberryheritagefestival.com

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Carberry’s Heritage Festival 2013


Reid Dickie

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.

Mark Morriseau and his band played to a large and happy crowd onCARBERRY HERITAGE FEST PICS 046 Friday evening at the all-ages dance in the community hall.

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.

CARBERRY HERITAGE FEST PICS 060Taxidermist 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 fascinatingCARBERRY HERITAGE FEST PICS 069 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.

DAUPHIN OCTOBER PICTURES 121I 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

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UPDATED – Carberry’s First Annual Heritage Festival August 9 & 10, 2013


Reid Dickie

UPDATE: More events have been added and new details are available for Carberry’s First Annual Heritage Festival. The two blocks of Main Street that comprise Manitoba’s only designated Heritage District will be closed to traffic for festival events from 2 to 5 pm on Friday and 11 to 5 pm on Saturday.


  • self-guided walking tours of Carberry’s architectural gems;
  • display of vintage cars and farm implements at Carberry Plains Museum from 2 to 7 pm Friday and 10 to 7 pm Saturday;
  • hour-long cemetery walking tours at 3 pm;
  • Friends of Camp Hughes, a WW1 training camp, will have a display in the Legion about the camp’s history;
  • street buskers will perform;
  • artisans will have booths selling their wares;
  • lots of fun activities for kids – games, face painting;
  • get your picture taken wearing a vintage hat, have some lemonade on the verandah of the gingerbread house and help support the museum;
  • there will be demonstrations of wool spinning, taxidermy, felt making and intuitive readings


  • a decorated bike parade with prizes and fun at 3:30 pm;
  • cut a rug to fiddler Mark Morisseau and his band at the old time dance from 7 – 11 pm in the hall. It’s an all-ages (no alcohol) event so bring the whole family. Tickets are $12 for adults, $8 for students.


  • Farmers Market from 9 to 11 am with plenty of fresh local produce;
  • celebration of naturalist Ernest Thompson Seton’s birthday at the Seton Centre from 11 to 1 pm with lunch and birthday cake;
  • high tea in the afternoon;
  • apron fashion show;
  • flea market;
  • a new community mural will be installed;
  • many businesses will feature special heritage-priced items;


If you got it, flaunt it! One of the basic adages of self-promotion.

From the angle of heritage preservation, there are very few Manitoba towns or cities that can match Carberry for sheer heritage chutzpah. The town of 1670 boasts Manitoba’s only designated heritage district, two blocks of Main Street containing 30 original buildings constructed between 1896 and 1930. This summer, the town is inviting everyone to the First Annual Carberry Heritage Festival – Friday and Saturday August 9 and 10. They have plenty to celebrate!

I love this idea! It’s original, ambitious and appropriate for the town. I have called Carberry Manitoba’s Heritage Gem and written extensively on this blog about its attractions. (On the Category menu there are 44 posts about Carberry) The town is a major day tripper destination for heritage buffs. If you are a heritage buff and haven’t been to Carberry, shame on you. Their heritage festival is a great opportunity to see the real deal.

The two-day festival has a growing slate of activities planned:

  • Seton Centre will be celebrating Ernest Thompson Seton‘s 153rd birthday with cake, lunch and other events;
  • Friends of Camp Hughes will have a display set up in the Legion and self-guided walking tours of Camp Hughes site, 16 kms west of Carberry off Hwy 351;
  • The Carberry Plains Museum will have a display of antique vehicles and farm implements at the museum;
  • The James White gingerbread house (top picture) will serve lemonade and cookies on the Verandah along with a vintage hat show;
  • The Magic Bean Coffeehouse will serve high tea and present an apron fashion show on Saturday afternoon;
  • Gerry Oliver will demonstrate felting and sell his wares; Pat Lovatt will sell her hand made alpaca items;
  • On Saturday morning there will be a farmer’s market with plenty of fresh produce by then on sale, along with lots of crafts and handmades.
  • Aboriginal events feature dancing and singing;
  • Kid’s activities will include face-painting;
  • Joe at Offbeat Antiques will hold a flea market, bargains galore;
  • buskers will appear at various times and places on Main Street;
  • Friday night an old-time dance will be held in the hall. It’s an all ages (no alcohol) affair so bring the tykes and the grannies and whoop it up to fiddler Mark Morisseau;
  • mark m

    Click the pic to make Mark and his band play a medley of fiddle tunes.

  • more events and activities still in the works. I will add them as they get green lit.

Announcing this festival is a bit of a scoop for me so thank you to the Carberry Heritage Group for allowing me that honour.

Alert your heritage network to this new wrinkle in celebrating a local past. See you in Carberry in August.

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