41st Annual Scottish Festival – Orillia 2018

Dateline: Orillia

Bowmanville Legion Colour Party at Orillia 2018
Bowmanville Legion Colour Party at Orillia 2018

We attended the 41st Annual Scottish Festival. We have been attending this festival for about 5 or 6 years now. The colour party, or part of it, from the Bowmanville Legion Branch 178 marches with the Pipes and Drums of Canada, a mosaic of pipers and drummers pulled together from all across Canada.

This all started a few years ago when there was a chance to go to Scotland with this particular group and play all over the country. A few of the Bowmanvillers went up every month to Orillia to practice with the band – well, the Orillia contingent, anyway, and a couple of others who lived close enough to travel to the practices.

After a year of practicing we had to put our money up for the trip. That’s when everyone backed out except for Roger and me. Yup! We went to Scotland with the group and had a wonderful time on the tour, especially the day we went to Balmoral Castle to play for the Queen. Out she came in her tweed skirt, her kerchief and her handbag, accompanied by Prince Philip and one of the granddaughters, and sat on wooden chairs under a canopy and listened to the band. Our boys performed superbly!!

We did have some laughs that day…after the performance we were brought to the stables – well, a reception room beside the stables – and served tea and coffee and biscuits – half a cup of coffee and one Peek Frean – Yep! That’s it! We were now on the Queen’s purse and the purse strings were barely slid open. You gotta love her!!

Back to Orillia! During the massed bands, who assembled in the park by the lake after the parade down through the town, I marveled at the precision of the bands (well, I always do!). They don’t practice together prior to the event, but without fail they all play the same notes, at the same time, and their marching is as good as anything you see with the Queen’s Guards! No matter whether they are wearing white spats or black stockings, they are all in step as if they had practiced together for years! Marvelous! Any wonder I love the pipes

It has never rained on the Scottish Festival since we have been attending, and this year was also great! There are enough trees in the park for ample shade for everyone – participants, visitors or vendors. The variety of vendors is starting to change – a lot more non-Scottish vendors than before – and some of the former ones did not return this year. The big food tent where you could buy pies and pasties was not there this year – too bad, their food is GREAT! But we survived and had a good time. That’s all that matters.

While I am waiting for the fellows to come back down to the park in the parade (they get bused out to the parade start place a mile or more up the street) I usually check out the shopping  district. Orillia’s main street has always seemed so depressed to me, but this year nearly every building was occupied by a shop of one sort or another – mostly high-priced ladies wear that made me realize I’m in the wrong business!! It looked to me as if the main street is  experiencing a revival! And that’s a very good thing – anywhere!

Art deco dresser
Art Deco dresser handle

It has been a very good week, in the realm of things. I went to Apsley on Wednesday passed to visit my friend Micki. On the way home I stopped in Peterborough at the RESTORE – the retail outlet for Habitat for Humanity. I bought a wonderful Art Deco dresser. I couldn’t resist it!

I love the decoration and the three colours of stain on the wood, and the brass handles are superb! They polished up well. I know the piece is all scratched up, but that’s ok. I’ve done the small top drawer (just the walnut portion – left the other bits alone) and the top of the dresser, and once the rain stops (suppose to rain most of the week) then I will refinish the rest.

Art Deco furniture is a passion of mine. Last year I refinished two bed-side tables – they turned out very well. One of the pieces had old wooden knobs added so I had to go and find some good Art Deco drawer pulls – found them at the Antique Mews in Orono, “Main Thru Church,” where I find most of the antique “stuff” I go looking for every now and then. Found wonderful candle sticks there for Christmas last year!