The Apple Blossom Festival in Colborne ON has a surplus of events and good fun – and Moms and Dads benefit from the extra fun available to kids of all ages on all three days of the festival. There is the Classy Car Exhibit and Gazebo Performers Show in the park while the Midway Rides, despite the rainy weather on Saturday morning, had plenty of takers – perhaps warming up for the Big Kahoona, TheX in Toronto.
But Midway rides are just a teaser for all the kids fun available at the Apple Fest. Just down Main Stret there is the Optimist Club’s Soap Box Derby.
Ye Editor likes the way the Soap Box Derby is run by the Optimist Club. The Club supplies the racing cars with about 8 derby speedsters with fancy make and styling. So the emphasis is on the driving skills of the racers who are divided into 3 groups, Juniors, MidYears, and Seniors. The racers get to choose their car and and race three times down the 50 yrd track. The racer in each group with the fastest time wins the trophy.
Let ye Editor offer some advice to the Soap Box Derby racers – its not the fancy color, striping, or styling of the racer; but rather how well you fit in and are able to steer the car that makes for a winner. And there is plenty of time before hand to tryout all the cars in the Derby pits. Time after time ye Editor saw kids essing and weaving just slightly down the track – and giving away the lead to their steadier opponent. Like in hotrod drag racing, the straightest run to the finish often wins.
Tractor Pull Fun
Also on Saturday at the Apple Fest back near the Midway Rides was the Tractor Pull contest. In this event I expected mostly boys to enter and the kids to be hard pressed to even move the tractors a few feet. The loads were pretty hefty – starting in at 30kg and moving upover 100kgs pretty quickly. And the pedal tractor didn’t inspire a lot confidence:
There was steady stream of competitors for the Tractor Pull – and this event could have easily gone on all day.
Owls To Be Seen
How an Owl Glances
The most fascinating exhibit for kids of all ages was the Owl showing by the Centre for the Conservation of Specialized Species. The Centre is home to approximately 60 to 100 birds of prey from 17 different species including Eagles, Owls, Hawks and Falcons. Most of the birds suffered injuries in the wild and have been rehabilitated but were not releasable. Chris Ketola showed a falcon and two owls all Saturday afternoon. Chris provided a mountain of information about the Owls including their ability to to turn their heads nearly 270 degrees and as seen the photo, their quick reflexive head scans.
From Chris visitors learned that most owls are nocturnal hunters depending on specialized eyesight and the ability to fly with almost no sound to swoop in and seize their prey. But because their eyes are large and adapted for night vision, they are locked into position so the owl depends on quick swivels of the head to provide a wider field of view. Owls are are also farsighted so object close by are detected by feathers sensitive to incoming air puffs and drafts plus sensitive hearing. Apparently blind as a bat nearly applies to owls for their close range optical vision.
Chris was most accommodating, answering scores of questions about not just the owls and falcon on display but other birds of prey including eagles, hawks, falcon, vultures, even and other, non-predatory birds[like jays which are omnivorous almost like bears]. He also allowed visitors daring enough to touch the owls and “feel” the light weight and density of their feathers. In sum, one of the most fascinating of exhibits.
Tricks to get the flames out
Ye Ditor can remember as a kid always being fascinated with the firehouse which was on the way in the walk to school. Pestering the firemen with questions all about the equipment and fire seemed to be a noble calling, part of the grade school education. Well the Colborne Fire Department topped that with not only the old Fire Truck but with a fire obstacle course just like the ones they compete in provincially, nationally and internationally. Ok, scaled back a bit; but talking to the fire crews at the festival, they said the various fire challenges were pretty close to what they competed on and required applying good fire fighting principles.
Take the hoses on the mock fires in the window. The trick is to aim high to get leverage and dispersal on the flames. Below you can see the kids were certainly having fun running rampant over the fire fighting obstacle course:
While watching the kid run the fire course, I also saw a number playing at the Community Centre area. It was just colorful blocks of various sizes, hoops of wires covered in crazy cloth and youngsters with plenty of energy and excitement to burn:
The Apple Blossom festival certainly provides lots of fun for kids from todddler to 4th grader and up. And I haven’t even mentioned the Spelling Bee, Midway, Apple Pie Eating Contest and Singing competition. Almost all of the events are free and the Fun – well as you can see from the pictures the kids were really up to the task of finding lots of that.