Today’s post is a bit of a coming-events bulletin board, aimed at all of you who live in the Hastings County area, and all of you who might be thinking of paying a visit. There’s some fun stuff happening in the coming days and weeks – and these are just the ones I know about! I’ll list them in chronological order.
This Saturday, July 27, the first (though I’m sure not the last) Al Purdy Picnic takes place in and around Ameliasburgh, in gorgeous Prince Edward County. I’ve written before about poet Al Purdy and how he perhaps better than anyone else captured in his work “The Country North of Belleville” (as one of his most famous poems is called) – the country where Queensborough and the Manse are. I’ve also written (here and here) about the excellent project to restore the rustic A-frame house in Ameliasburgh that Al and his wife, Eurithe, built, and to transform it into a place where future generations can learn about Al, and poetry, and Canadian literature generally. This event (which you can read more about here, on Lindi Pierce’s brilliant blog In Search of Al Purdy) runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and includes food (hey, it’s a picnic!), Al Purdy films, book sales, tours of the area – and of course a chance to visit the famous A-frame, where Al and Eurithe hosted generations of Canadian literary icons (Atwood, Laurence, Ondaatje, and the list goes on and on and on) for Eurithe’s spaghetti, copious amounts of beer (or Al’s wild grape wine), and late-into-the-night literary talk.
In Madoc on Saturday, Aug. 10, and Sunday, Aug. 11, it’s the Food for Thought Art Show, a show and silent auction of works by a raft of very talented Hastings County artists. The artists have donated their work for this good cause: it’s a fundraiser for the Central Hastings Support Network, which runs the food bank in Madoc, a local transit service and a variety of other services of support in the community. Last year the first such event raised an extremely impressive $5,000! So listen: anytime from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, and between noon and 3 p.m. Sunday, drop by Arts Centre Hastings (230 Durham St. S., by the town’s fantastic skatepark complex), enjoy the beautiful artwork – and put in a bid! You might be the lucky one to take home a piece of great local art, and you’ll be helping an excellent local service at the same time.
On Sunday, Aug. 18, it’s the annual summer service at historic Hazzard’s Corners Church. Raymond and I attended last year’s service, and it was just wonderful; I wrote about it here. Things get under way with a rousing hymn sing at 1:30 p.m. (think “singing that makes the rafters ring,” as I wrote in yesterday’s post about another service in a historic country church), and the service proper starts at 2 p.m. It will be conducted by The Rev. Caroline Giesbrecht, the minister at St. Andrew’s United Church in Queensborough, and her husband, The Rev. John Young. And there will be special music by Don Bailey of Cooper and his granddaughters. Which will be very nostalgic for those of us who remember Don and his brothers, The Bailey Boys, singing together back when all of us were much younger. Their beautiful voices and harmonies – often with their mother, Jean Bailey, accompanying them on piano – were a highlight of any community event. How wonderful to see the family tradition continue!
And finally, on Sunday, Aug. 25 at 3 p.m., the annual summer service will be held at the Old Hay Bay Church at Adolphustown, Lennox and Addington County. Hay Bay Church is a very significant place: it’s Canada’s oldest Methodist building, and a National Historic Site. I remember my family attending the summer service there when I was a young child growing up at the Manse; and I wrote here about an amusing Hay Bay Church-related poem that my father, The Rev. Wendell Sedgwick, composed once upon a time. It will be good to go back and visit the church once again. And The Rev. John Young, a specialist in church history, will be conducting that service – and I expect (this having been built as a Methodist meeting house/church, and the Methodists always having been known for their singing) that the congregation’s voices will make the rafters ring there too, with some great old Charles Wesley compositions.
As you can see, there’s a lot going on in our neck of the woods this summer!