Serving Dorchester, Belmont, Thorndale, Thamesford, Putnam, Crampton, Avon, Harrietsville-Mossley and surrounding area

Free festival offers chance to

relax and enjoy great outdoors

Signpost photo by Wendy Spence
Brent Jones holds up the poster for this year’s Back To the Garden Festival in front of the performance area on his family’s farm.
by Wendy Spence

        It evokes an aura of a simpler time when town folk gathered around to celebrate: whether it be a season, celestial based or for another reason. “That’s the whole idea of Back To the Garden is to get people away from the distractions,” said organizer Brent Jones. The free festival features entertainment, the arts, food and a chance to socialize and connect with others in a natural setting.
        The local chapter of the Royal Astronomical Society will bring their deep space telescopes for a viewing session on Saturday, August 18 at the Jones farm on Hunt Road, just outside of Dorchester. That event, which also includes a presentation by the society, and live music, is completely booked.
        The following day, performances begin at 11 a.m. and alternate between a more intimate outdoor field area than in past years and the renovated heritage barn. More than 20 acts will entertain visitors. Groups and individuals who have performed at the festival in the past, such as The Marrieds, Newport Electric and Pete Denomme and the Cosmic Cowboys, will be back and new acts will grace the stages for the first time.
        Jones says the festival was named Back To the Garden because he wanted to include an ecological reference while honouring the Banner Garden Party and it also pays homage to the peace, love and entertainment of the Woodstock festival in 1969. He is very supportive of the community and invites people to attend the Banner United Church service and open house starting at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday before they make their way to the festival. “Hopefully it will generate some interest in the church too.”
        Close to 50 vendors and booths are going to be on site, including environmental groups such as Carolinian Canada, the Mill Pond and the Thames Talbot Land Trust. Resident Penny Wearne will lead activities in the Creative Aging tent. Jones wants to include more displays focusing on health and community based elements. There will be CPR demonstrations and a chance to ask health-related questions. An army of volunteers will help prepare for hundreds of visitors. “It takes a community to make it happen.”
        In the spirit of the event, Jones explained that there are no sponsors, no funding and no grants for the festival and everyone’s donating their time. There’s also no admission fee for vendors or guests. The watering can will be passed around so people can make donations to help cover costs
        Back To the Garden T-shirts will be for sale as well as reusable water bottles so people can fill up at the water station instead of using plastic bottles.
        There are no seats available for the Saturday Night Star Party on August 18. The festivities on Sunday, August 19 are open to the public and run from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Jones family farm, 1681 Hunt Road in Dorchester. More information, including performer bios, is available on the Facebook event page: Back To The Garden 2018.

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