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WEEKENDS: LOCAL DIVERSIONS Add to ...

Blues in the Park Niagara Falls, Ont. This weekend, blues enthusiasts can attend the annual Blues in the Park Festival in Niagara Falls. The two-day concert series features a lineup of talented Canadian and American blues entertainers. Friday night's headliners are Juno-Award winning artists Fathead. The group has received multiple Jazz Report Awards for Blues Group of the Year and has also won a Maple Blues Award.

Saturday's star is Kansas City's Kelly Hunt. This singer, songwriter and piano player has won rave reviews for her ability to draw from the long-established soul and rhythm-and-blues tradition to create her own original brand of music.

Also performing at the festival is blues guitarist Big Daddy G, who is playing with Tortoise Blue, Gatorbait, Ned Green, Steve Burnside and the Original Marquis.

Cost: Tickets for Friday's concerts are $10; tickets for Saturday are $15. A weekend pass is $20. Admission free for children under 12.

When: Friday, Sept. 6, 5 to 11 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 7, 2 to 11 p.m.

Where: Performances take place at Firemen's Park in Niagara Falls.

How: For more information, including the full schedule of performances, visit http://www.bluesinthepark.com. Binder Twine Festival Kleinburg, Ont. This Saturday, the picturesque village of Kleinburg is hosting its annual Binder Twine Festival. It commemorates the practice of former resident Charles Shaw Jr., who in the late 1890s began keeping his general store open late so farmers could buy twine to bind their sheaves of wheat before the mice got to them. Over time, the practice evolved into a communal social occasion and eventually a full-blown festival.

These days, the festival consists of old-time entertainment, activities and contests -- including a fashion show and street dance, woodworking and stained-glass demonstrations, as well as numerous competitions from shaving a farmer to nail hammering. During the Binder Twine Queen contest, contestants demonstrate their prowess at activities such as hog calling, cow milking and log sawing.

Because the village will be closed to traffic, parking will be available at various locations, including Kleinburg Public School and École élémentaire La Fontaine.

Cost: Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and $2 for children aged 2 to 13.

When: Saturday, Sept. 7, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: The village of Kleinburg, Ont., 40 kilometres northwest of Toronto. The major intersection is Major Mackenzie and Islington Avenue.

How: For more information, call (905) 893-3083. Mushroom weekend McKellar, Ont. Early this fall, the Inn at Manitou is offering a special weekend program that introduces guests to the fascinating world of mushrooms. The program is led by Alan Gan, a member of the Mycological Society of Toronto, and includes a workshop and slide-show presentation to assist participants in identifying mushroom varieties.

During the weekend, the group will venture into the woods to search and collect a variety of mushrooms. As an additional thrill, a competition with prizes for the best collectors is planned. On Sunday morning, one of the chefs from the inn's award-winning kitchen will host a cooking class, preparing dishes with the mushrooms collected.

The luxurious Inn at Manitou is nestled on the shores of Manitouwabing Lake, near Parry Sound. Guests staying at this Relais & Chateaux property will find an elegant and relaxed environment. The world-class services and facilities available include a golf academy, tennis instruction and a full-service spa.

Cost: Rates for the three-night package start at $750 a person.

When: Thursday, Sept. 26 to Sunday, Sept. 29.

Where: The Inn at Manitou is located in McKellar, Ont., near Parry Sound, about 2½ hours north of Toronto.

How: For more information or to make a reservation, visit http://www.manitou-online.com or call (800) 571-8818. Francesco Contini is the general manager of weekendtrips.com

 

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