Manitoulin Country Fest prepares for 9th year

LITTLE CURRENT— The 9th annual Manitoulin Country Fest coming up this weekend is shaping up to be one you won’t want to miss.

Kelly Timmermans, who co-organizes the festival with her husband Craig, told The Expositor that they are very excited for their lineup this year including the return to Country Fest of the legendary Johnny Reid. There is also big hype on the Island for Tom Cochrane and the rest of the great Canadian lineup including Buffy Saint-Marie.

This year’s lineup includes Leah Daniels, Beverley Mahood and Johnny Reid Thursday (August 6) night; Me and Mae, Lindsay Broughton, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Tom Cochrane with Red Rider on Friday; Naomi Bristow, Genevieve Fisher, Tristan Horncastle, The Boom Chucka Boys, Autumn Hill and Gord Bamford on Saturday night; and Jack Connolly and the Canucky Blue Grass Boys on Sunday.

New this year there will be a songwriter showcase aboard North Channel Cruise Line’s Le Grand Heron on Friday, August 7 from 11 am to 1 pm. The event will include intimate, acoustic concerts with Beverly Mahood, Lindsay Broughton, Leah Daniels, Larry Berrio and Mike Trudell. Each artist will be sharing the stories around songs they have written and performing them as the ship sails under the swing bridge and to Strawberry Island.

There are a ton of other fun activities going on throughout the weekend including hillbilly Olympics Saturday morning, a hillbilly fashion show, a contest for the best decorated campsite (all with prizes from the Manitowaning Mill Home Building Centre), a Hydro One Electricity Discovery Centre with a charging station for mobile devices, a square dancing demo with youth from the 4H Club of Massey with special guests from Alberta and demonstrations from the North Shore Search and Rescue team.

For kids, there will be the TD Financial Group Family Fun Zone all weekend. The area will include an inflatable obstacle course, mega slide and space ball ride, face painting, an arts and crafts station, balloon fun and a magician.

Throughout the festival there will also be vendors, a beer tent and Palm Bay Round Up Zone. Round Up Zone tickets will be $20 each and available each day in limited numbers. The Round Up Zone will allow Country Festers access to a stage side party complete with Palm Bay samples.

Camping is available onsite, but as of press time Monday were very limited (call for more information, 705-368-1998).

Weekend passes are $150 (plus HST) or day passes are available for $89.99 (plus HST). There are reduced prices for youth ages 10-15 and kids nine-years-old and younger are free. Tickets are available at the gate.