10 Things to do in Prince Edward County in May 🐦
Now the magic starts to happen: the birds are chirping, the flowers start blooming, The County (finally) starts warming up. Rejoice in May’s sunny weather with all kinds of activities designed to get you recharged and reconnected.
1. Reel one in. In The County, “the bite is good,” as fisherfolk say. From May 4-6, put a line in and try to hook a giant walleye, a sharp-toothed, iridescent-eyed fish, as part of the Kiwanis Walleye World Fishing Derby. This catch-and-weigh competition supports local initiatives and activities that encourage local youth through sport, sciences, academics and more.
2. Go on an adventure. Adventure PEC is a County-wide creative scavenger hunt on May 5, followed by an epic after-party at Prince Eddy’s Brewing Company. Join in for a brew and cheer on the teams as they race across the finish line! This is a Creative Rural Minds event, making it a great opportunity to meet some of The County’s artists, performers and creative entrepreneurs while seeing the length and breadth of The County.
3. Sit still, stay quiet, spot a bird. On their long journey home, hundreds of migratory birds stop at The County’s south shore for a brief reprieve. It’s made the area an aptly-named and internationally regarded Important Bird Area, one of global significance in the birding community, with more than 260 bird species sighted last spring. Celebrate the birds’ return with the Spring Birding Festival, a week of guided tours that run from May 12 to 21, and a chance to see migrating warblers, tanagers, orioles, flycatchers and thrushes, among others.
4. Hoe-down in the Hayloft. After a long winter, the Hayloft Dancehall blasts into spring with a series of concerts, featuring Kiefer Sutherland, Sloan, The Mercenaries and Moon Sugar. That’s on top of the May 17 ROC’N Revue fundraiser featuring local folksy crooner Justin Rutledge, and the 10th Annual Bluegrass Celebration at the Quinte’s Isle Campark on May 25-27. And if that’s not enough, don’t forget the usual live music fare on weekly at The Waring House, Acoustic Grill, The County Canteen and Stache on Main.
5. LOL IRL. Comedy Country kicks off its summer season with The Lusty Mannequins, a Toronto sketch comedy troupe performing “smart comedy with an impeccable sense of drama and surprise” (NOW magazine). They’re fresh from their success as “Best of the Fest” at the 2018 Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival and performing May 19 at the Athol Community Centre with local artisanal comedy troupe “Taste That!”
6. To market, to market. There’s no better place to get the best gossip in local produce than the local farmers’ market. In Wellington, vendors will be out Tuesday nights in conjunction with Concerts in the Park events, as well as Saturdays and Sundays. An eclectic, outdoor market on the sparkling shore of Lake Ontario, Wellington Market is where you can find gourmet food, jewelry, sweets, cosmetics, metal art, organic fruits and vegetables, antiques, clothing, or gifts for the hard-to-please. Vendors at the quaint Milford Market sell everything from flower bulbs and vegetables, crafts and collectibles, home baking, photography, honey, goats milk soap, and so much more! Both re-open the Victoria Day long weekend.
7. Harken back. Way back. Imagine being an American so fed up with your government that you set sail for different shores. Now imagine this was the late 1700s and your beef wasn’t “Fake News” but loyalty to the British monarchy. On the Victoria Day weekend, relive the early days of The County at the Ameliasburgh Heritage Village, with a Loyalist encampment. Volunteers in period dress will explain how Loyalists survived. Try games popular to the late 1700s and explore the village’s 20 buildings. Or, on May 19-20, search for signs of the past at the Spring Antique Show & Sale, featuring dozens of vendors from Ontario and Quebec.
8. Grab your paddle. On May 21, enjoy a gentle paddle down the Black River, one of the longest and most picturesque rivers in The County. Bring life jackets, binoculars and a camera because this two-hour, six-kilometre trip is a birder’s paradise: you may see Great Blue Herons, Green Herons, Mute Swans, Swamp Sparrows, Baltimore Orioles, Marsh Wrens, Common Kingfishers, Bald Eagles, Ospreys, Mallards, American black and wood ducks. The County’s rare Blanding’s turtles may also be out sunning themselves on the rocks. At the end of the route, enjoy a BBQ after docking opposite McMahon Bluff.
9. Spin it out, knit it together. Prince Edward County FibreFest happens May 26, an all day event with more than 60 vendors selling all things knitting, spinning and fibre-related. There will be demonstrations of spinning and weaving, plus alpacas, sheep and angora bunnies to visit. A full day of classes and workshops in everything from felting to shibori dyeing will be held during the day.
10. Ride back-roads lined with lilacs. On May 27, enjoy the sights and scents of spring in The County as part of The Lilac Ride, which cycles through one of the area’s most beautiful bike routes. Starting in Picton, riders can choose a 25km, 50km or 100km ride, passing through Big Island and Green Point before returning to Picton for the finish at the Prince Edward Community Centre Rotary Hall. Refreshments will be available at all route check points and a Post Ride BBQ will be provided.