The sheer joy of being at Dairyfest on a hot summer day can be seen in this young Winchester resident’s leap through a North Dundas Fire Service water sprinkler at the Sam Ault Arena on Sun., Aug. 7. The extremely hot August weather did little to slow down the children who came to have fun at the Dairyfest activities, inside and outside the Sam Ault Arena. Morin Photo

WINCHESTER – The hot humid weather could not stop Dairyfest from celebrating its return to Winchester after two years of a restricting pandemic.

The two-day festival kicked off on Sat., Aug. 6 and came to an end on Sunday.

There was non-stop fun beginning at 7 a.m. at the Winchester Fire Hall as breakfast was served.

While residents got an early start to their day, with the breakfast at the other end of Main Street at the Sam Ault Arena, participants in the Dairy Dash were given directions. There was a 2 and 5 km run for runners to enjoy, and the early start avoided a run in extremely hot 30 C plus temperatures that settled over the event for the rest of the weekend. The winners of the races each received a 3-month membership to Summers Physiotherapies fitness facility.

Chair of the Dairyfest organizing committee Alexandra Donovan said, “From talking to the people in attendance at the event, I was pleased to see how many people had come from cities that were not in Winchester. Awesome to show people from out of town a bit about our community.”

Lactalis was a significant sponsor of the weekend’s event, and their cheese sale was well received with people lined up for their cheese at 6:30 a.m. with coolers in tow.

Donovan said, “The kids loved Julie Balloonies balloon animals at the market. She was a real hit.”

Leanne Leader and her team held a Zumba class in Sweet Corner Park.

“I was pleasantly surprised to see 8-10 woman dancing along with them in that heat; I was surprised.”

The winners of the weekend-long lob ball tournament were the Titans and for 2nd place Catchers in the Rye. Fourteen teams took part in the tournament.

“We had to move some of the inflatables inside because of the potential weather but the kids still had a great time. The rockwall and inflatables were a big hit,” said Donovan.

“John Cinnamon had his annual tractor parade that went down Main Street and passed the Dundas Manor. There were 57 tractors in total. Dundas Manor has some heart warming photos of them watching the tractors.”

A walk down Main Street provided a fun time with more than 40 vendors that made up an exciting street market. There was a never-ending parade of great live music at Sweet Corner Park. There were performances by Cory Coons, Josh MacFarlane and the Low Keys, and later the Ken Workman Band at the Sam Ault Arena for a dance at the end of the day.

In between breakfast and the dance, there were children’s events such as an inflatable mechanical bull.

The Junkyard Symphony roamed the market interacting with children and providing some fun.

There was all-day long softball and an inflatable obstacle course and cotton candy courtesy of Southgate Church.

Adults were able to escape the heat at the beer garden at Sweet Corner Park.

The festivities kicked off at 9 a.m. with a few words from North Dundas Mayor Tony Fraser and Coun. Theresa Bergeron with “O’Canada” sung by Issabel C.

The second day of Dairyfest featured more fun and family activities at the Sam Ault Arena.

The fire department kept children cool with a number of games including hoses and an abundance of cooling spray. Children could run through a giant sprinkler or join a team of people trying to push a suspended ball with water from a fire hose.

While vendors positioned themselves in the arena parking lot, children and adults had fun upstairs in the arena taking part in a Lego car racing competition. Children gathered around a large pile of Legos and built their own racing cars, which later raced down an elevated track.

Downstairs on the arena’s rink floor there were more inflatable play structures for children to play on, as well as highland dancing demonstrations by the Ellen Cameron School of Dance from St. Andrews.

Behind the arena on the ball diamonds, there were softball games all through both days of the festival.

Dairyfest organizers were thrilled with the weekend turnout despite the hot temperatures during Dairyfest; they felt the event was a success and are looking forward to next year.

“The current committee will have a debriefing to go over the good and bad of the event. We are always looking for volunteers and would love it if more in our community would sit on the committee. We will start 2023s planning early next year,” said Donovan.

Dairyfest has its origins in 1988 by a small committee of merchants to celebrate Winchester’s centennial year.