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Old time entertainers highlight Mono 150 Picnic

May 27, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Marni Walsh


1923 news archive: “The Mono Twp Centennial Picnic held at Mono Centre on Monday was a huge success. An immense crowd attended the affair, estimates of the attendance ranging from 2,500 to 3,000 people. A number of races for the boys and girls and a comedy performance were sandwiched in between baseball matches and addresses and kept every minute of the afternoon fully occupied.”


On Sunday, June 4, Mono Township hopes to echo the success of that summer day in 1923, as organizers work hard to bring Mono residents past and present together in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday with excellent entertainment and activities to keep picnickers “fully occupied.”

Guests will be greeted by red and white decorations and volunteers in red and white cowboy hats as they enter the grounds of Mono Community Centre June 4th. Canadian flags will be flying and everyone is “encouraged to show their Canadian pride by wearing red and white, or a period costume.”

Local historian, and former Curator of the Dufferin County Museum and Archives, Wayne Townsend will be emcee for the event which kicks off at 11 am with the first performance of “Doc Century’s Magical Traveling Medicine Show.”

Thrill to the old time medicine magic and wizardry as Doc “cures what ails ya” with magic and laughter for the whole family as he invites the “townsfolk” to test the power of his potions, lotions and tonics.

Doc Century is not quite as old as Canada, but he is celebrating 20 years of “pedalling” his magic show for audiences right across the province.

Guests will want to make sure to arrive at the picnic before noon for the official entrance of “Queen Victoria” who will be welcomed by Dufferin-Caledon MP David Tilson, MPP Sylvia Jones, and Mono Twp Mayor Laura Ryan.

An opportunity for families, and even pets, to take a photo with Queen Victoria will follow her arrival. “Lady Margaret” will be on hand to help quests with the “royal” protocol.

For music lovers, Tradition, a talented group of area musicians led by fiddler David Aspenlieder, will present a variety of vocal and instrumental tunes bordering on Country in the main hall (accessible to all).

“Tradition is not as much a band name as it is a commitment to keeping the music and dance traditions of years past alive,” says Mr. Aspenlieder.

He says square dances will also be on the bill, which will be chosen to best suit an inexperienced audience.

“It is all about having fun.”

Tradition musicians include David Aspenlieder – violin/viola and MC, Janice McGinn – violinist, Ginny Pletts – vocalist,  Rod MacMillan – guitarist and vocalist, Carol Beatty – violinist,  Murray Irwin – vocalist and guitarist,  Ruth Irwin – vocalist and guitarist, Diane Stewart – vocalist and guitarist, Rudy Di Nova – vocalist, guitarist and fiddle player, Ed Elliotson – square dance caller and musician.

On the gazebo stage, guests will find the Dufferin Circle of Storytellers, led by Dick Byford. This old time oral tradition, where the storyteller tells from memory and not from a book, will bring three different stories to life incorporating humorous accounts of life in Dufferin County.

Mono 150 Committee member Debbi Goss says the organizers understand that families are busy, “so we have scheduled performances to make sure no one misses a thing – there will be three different “Doc Century” magic shows and three story sessions, as well as two music and dance sessions.

In addition to the entertainers, old time games will be featured throughout the day.

Three legged races, sack races, egg and spoon relays, hula hoops, and croquet, will run continuously all day. There will also be a craft area and the popular “strikers” for both adults and kids.

History buffs, and those new to Mono, will appreciate the photos and historical implements of local history at the mini-museum next to the Community Centre – open anytime for drop-in from 2 pm to 4 pm.

The 1923 news archives continued on to say: “The opportunity given for meeting friends and renewing former acquaintances formed one of the most delightful features of the picnic.”

In this spirit, Mayor Laura Ryan says, “On behalf of Town of Mono Council, I welcome all residents past and present to help us celebrate Canada’s 150 Years of Confederation. We will enjoy a day of fun, food, entertainment and a moment to recount our history as a town and a great country. There is no better way to celebrate being Canadian than to have a backyard picnic with music and friends.”

The Mono Township Canada 150 Celebration Picnic will take place Sunday, June 4, from 11 am – 4 pm at the Mono Community Centre: 754483 Mono Centre Road in Mono Twp. Bring your own picnic, blanket, chairs etc. The entertainment, lemonade, popcorn and ice cream will be provided by Mono Twp.

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