10 Things to Do in Prince Edward County in June 🐝
June in The County tempts with ice cream cones, beach days, cookouts and campfires. Soak it all up because summer slips by all too quickly!
This month we’ve got all the newest wine releases, rock legends, actual rocks, birds and the bees (literally), hilarity set to music, bugs, bells and a couple runs to burn off the excess.
1. Taste the terroir. So yes, it’s the French word for dirt. But it’s also wine-ese for all that suffuses a wine with its flavour. Taste the newest releases from some of your favourite vineyards at County Terroir, the annual celebration of all things new and noteworthy in local County wines. Pair your sampling with a nibbly from County culinary stars making magic at live cooking stations or nod along to live jazz. If your version of the afterlife includes wall-to-wall wine and fine food, get a little preview of heaven on June 2 in Picton at the Crystal Palace. Or try the terroir from across the country, at Uncork Canada on June 23.
Get some local (unfermented) fruit on your palate too during the Campbell’s Orchards Strawberry Fest, also June 23.
2. Go for a run. The Terroir Run (the ultimate combination of booze, fitness and fine food) sells out in a snap, but you can still stretch your legs at the Wellington Women’s Half Marathon. Run or walk the event – distances are half a marathon or a “half-half,” otherwise known as a 10-km. The slogan is “It’s a girl thing” and bib pick up includes a complimentary Sandbanks Winery tasting. (Now that’s more my speed!) Both runs take place June 2.
3. Be yourself. Feel the love – any kind of (consensual) love – right here in The County where we have a big beautiful LGBTQ+ community. Join in the celebrations with our neighbours to the north during Belleville Pride. Rock your best rainbow gear at the Pride Patio Party at 555 Brewing Co. June 8, or be a part of the wrap-up party with bubbles and brunch at Rosehall Run on June 11.
4. See the stars – with all the bells & whistles. On June 9, Casa-Dea Estates Winery hosts a dinner, concert and stargazing session with Coburg’s Alloy Fusion Handbell Ensemble and the Belleville chapter of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Sounds dreamy, right? The tinkling of handbells under the twinkling of stars? Leave planet Earth behind as you float away to the soundtrack of other-worldy music but dress in layers, because the party moves outdoors, under the night sky.
5. Count The County’s critters. How many bugs, birds and butterflies can you spot in a 24 hour period? Help experts and citizen scientists take stock of The County’s bird, butterfly, plant, insect, amphibian and aquatic species at the local BioBlitz, the annual survey of all things with wings – and more. There are guided walks and talks that traverse ponds, woodlands and marshes. Jump in on June 9 with butterflies, dragonflies, insects and moths, return for the action with birds, plants and amphibians on June 10.
And for you owl lovers, Get up close and personal with owls on loan to the Macaulay Heritage Park from the Royal Ontario Museum. Specimens include an Eastern Screech Owl, Short-eared Owl, Long-eared Owl, Northern Hask Owl, Great Horned Owl, Boreal Owl, Barred Owl, Snowy Owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl and the Great Gray Owl. Or try to spot them in the wild on an evening walk with naturalist Terry Sprague on June 6 and 20.
6. Rock and roll and a little rosé too. Does it get more Canadian than Dwayne Gretzky and a Stompin’ Tom tribute? The Hayloft Dancehall is hosting Dwayne Gretzky – predictably, the show is sold out – but there are still tickets for Moon Sugar, The Rheostatics, Dear Rouge and Hot Wax Meltdown. On June 15, The Good Brothers & Whiskey Jack pay tribute to quintessential Canadian crooner Stompin’ Tom Connors with a show at the Regent Theatre. Legendary rockers April Wine headline an outdoor concert in Cherry Valley on June 30. And if you prefer your rock with a side of ribs and rosé , head to Three Dog Winery for this year’s rosé release, featuring the hometown favourites, The Sophiasburgh All-Stars.
And hey, if you prefer your rock to be actual rocks, check out the Rock Hound Fossil Hunt at Half-Moon Bay, whose South Shore vineyard is located on an ancient lake bed filled with fossilized limestone. Walk the vineyard, turn up a fossil, have it analyzed by County collector Alf Newnham and learn how to make rock art and statuary with your find at home.
7. Get your green on. The County Blooms is The County’s local garden show. On June 16, drop into the Wellington Town Hall for the flower show, a judged floral competition, plant sale, silent auction and Victorian tea room. Keep the Victorian vibe going all the way to Honey & Herb Day at Honey Pie Hives & Herbals, on June 30, with honey tastings, an herbal tea party, mead samples, wild herb walk and old-fashioned games.
8. Laugh it up. Prefer your music with a hit of humour? Check out Success 5000 – think Garfunkel and Oates, but with toques. They’re in town from Edmonton as part of Comedy Country’s summer series, doing a set June 16 with “Taste That!” at the ever-charming Athol Rec Centre. Success 5000 have headlined every stand-up night in Edmonton, toured the country, performed on CBC’s The Irrelevant Show, and been featured in Vancouver Sketchfest, Toronto Sketchfest, Philly Sketchfest, Seattle Sketchfest and Improvaganza.
9. Hit the main drag. In the 1950s, drag racers and hot-rodders took over old World War II landing strips, starting their races with someone brave enough to stand between roaring engines and give the “go!” sign with a drop of their arms. Relive the old days with arm drop drag races on the airstrip at the old Camp Picton, now known as Loch-Sloy Business Park. These hugely popular races bring big crowds and plenty of weird and wonderful wheels, including classic and modified cars. Take part as a racer, or as a spectator. Every ticket includes pit access.
10. Art in the County. The County is an artist’s mecca – and this is a terrific chance to see the wealth of talent here. The annual juried Art in the County show is recognized as the premier art exhibition in Eastern Ontario, showcasing more than 2,000 juried works by County artists since the show began in 1993. Artworks in a wide range of media are featured, including watercolour, acrylic, oil and encaustic paintings, sculpture, fibre, wood, photography, ceramics, glass and more. The two-week show begins June 22.
11. “But where’s The Great Canadian Cheese Festival?” The County has happily hosted the annual (and delicious) Great Canadian Cheese Festival in Picton in June for the past 7 years, however the festival is taking a hiatus . You can still get your local cheese fix at Fifth Town Cheese, Black River Cheese and Lighthall Vineyards – or the deli counter at Agrarian Market.