25 Festivals in Prince Edward County 🎉
Winter, spring, summer or fall, there’s always a reason to celebrate in Prince Edward County. Whether in appreciation of art, wine, craft brews, community pride or the hard efforts of another year’s harvest, festivals are a year-round way to share in The County’s culture.
Here are 25 of our favourites.
Written by Karen Palmer
Comedy Country | May-September
The County’s summer 2018 Comedy Country series features performances by Toronto Sketch Fest alumni The Lusty Mannequins, musical comedy duo Success 5000, stand-up comedy with Tall Boyz II Men, improv and sketch duo The Bloody Marys and a special performance by Canadian comedy icon Gavin Crawford, in his new one-man show “FRIEND” “LIKE” #ME, exploring the click-baiting spiral of the hilarious characters we all know and love (and love to hate) from our lives on and off-line. Hosted by TASTE THAT! The County’s artisanal comedy troupe.
Art in the County | June-July
Art in the County (AITC) is the annual juried exhibition and sale presented by the Prince Edward County Arts Council and Welch LLP. As the premier art exhibition in Eastern Ontario, AITC has hosted more than 50,000 visitors, showcased more than 2,000 juried works of art by Prince Edward County artists, and has sold more than $280,000 worth of art to collectors, buyers and art lovers alike. Artworks in a wide range of media are showcased, including watercolour, acrylic, oil and encaustic paintings, sculpture, fibre, wood, photography, ceramics, glass and more. See what makes The County an artist’s paradise.
Festival Players | July-September
Festival Players is the region’s professional theatre company, with main stage performances in Wellington and Picton from July to September, as well as live events throughout the year. Led by Artistic Director Graham Abbey, Festival Players brings Canada’s leading theatre artists to The County for intimate performances in its Studio on Main Street Wellington, and marquee programming at Picton’s Regent Theatre. 2018 programming includes work by internationally acclaimed artists such as Bruce Dow, Benedict Campbell, John Dolan, Christy Bruce, Maev Beaty and Liisa Repo-Martell.
Lavender Festival | July
Come celebrate and enjoy a weekend of fragrance, taste and entertainment at the Lavender Festival! At the Prince Edward County Lavender Farm, we want to share the beauty of our purple fields, the exquisite aroma of the essence of our flowers and the flavour of our culinary treats. Please plan to bring cash for the admission, food vendors and activities.
Ontario Fermentation Festival | August
Ontario Fermentation Festival is a celebration of all things fermented, with demonstrations and workshops to help inspire and educate participants. Take in vendors of kimchi, kefir, nut cheeses, pickles, sauerkraut, vinegars, sour dough bread, kombucha, chocolate, coffee and tea. Sip and sample from the all-Ontario beer and wine garden. There will be activities for kids and an amateur ferment contest.
Prince Edward County Jazz Festival | August
Every summer, the Prince Edward County Jazz Festival brings together top jazz talent, from local heroes to international stars in our beautiful wine-country setting. With the generous help of local sponsors, the PEC Jazz Festival has gained a reputation as the true jazz-lover’s festival. From Dixieland classic to cutting edge modern and everything in between, the PEC Jazz Festival has something for every jazz fan in a variety of settings across The County.
Rednersville Road Art Tour | September
Artists living on Rednersville Road in Ameliasburgh open their homes and studios to invite visitors in for a special weekend view of their work. All the work presented for sale is original and represents a variety of styles, media and prices. Start your tour at any point along the road; we know at the end of your visit, you will be delighted by the talent and creativity you experience.
Prince Edward County Chamber Music Festival | September
Each September the Prince Edward County Chamber Music Festival presents a series of concerts in the St. Mary Magdalene Anglican Church in Picton. Under the artistic direction of the New Orford String Quartet, we showcase internationally acclaimed artists in imaginative programs of classical music that also include contemporary Canadian works.
Sandbanks Music Festival | September
Sandbanks Music Festival is a music, family and food event at the Sandbanks Provincial Park Outlet Beach. Build a love of music with a family-friendly concert, featuring headliner Wintersleep, a Canadian indie rock band based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The stage will be shared by another seven musical artists. Taste the best of The County with food trucks, local beer/wine/cider and keep the mini rockers rocking with free all-day kids programming like face painting and costume-making.
TASTE Community Grown | September
TASTE community grown is one of Prince Edward County’s most highly anticipated wine and culinary festivals and a gathering of the best food and drink purveyors the area has to offer, all in one place. Taste experiences featuring comfort food, farm stands, craft brews, shopping, entertainment, wine and spirits! Hop on the shuttle bus from Belleville, Bloomfield or downtown Picton. This family-friendly daylong festival will host more than 50 vendors and hundreds of guests in an historic Camp Picton airplane hangar showing The County and the people of Southern Ontario just how we grow things in our magical community.
PEC Studio Tour | September
Celebrating 25 years as Ontario’s most diverse, self-guided Studio Tour features 38 artists in 27 locations. Studio Tour visits provide something for everyone: paintings in every medium from watercolour, encaustic, acrylic, oil to mixed media, photography, sculptures, jewellery, pottery, hand-blown, stained and fused glass creations, ceramics, fibre art, silks and more. Come meet The County’s artists and get a behind the scenes look at how they make the perfect creation. Take a piece of The County home!
Fall Fairs | September-October
The first fall fair in Prince Edward County took place in 1836, featuring horse races and prize livestock showing and a parade for school children. Experience a rural fall fair as it was back then: with midways, carnival foods and exhibits of flowers, vegetables, woodworking, homecrafts, art and photography and school exhibits. And of course, musical entertainment is offered throughout. Fairs in Picton, Ameliasburgh and Milford.
Scarecrow Festival | October
Join Small Pond Arts for Scarecrow Festival, their annual celebration of the harvest season during Canadian Thanksgiving and find plenty of materials available to make the scarecrow of your dreams – and the birds’ nightmares. Enjoy a day in The County, surrounded by the changing fall colours, and let your creativity rule your straw-stuffed creation.
Pumpkinfest | October
Feel positively Lilliputian when surrounded by the massive giant pumpkins on display at Pumpkinfest, a celebration of all things round, orange and suitable for pies. Indulge in pumpkin pie, sport a pumpkin hat, participate in the pumpkin parade, find lots of pumpkin-themed baked goods, games and more! The whole village of Wellington comes together to celebrate the season and local growers of pumpkins.
Homegrown: County Craft Brewing Festival | October
Homegrown is a toast to the harvest season! The County’s fall festival celebrates local growers, makers and tasters of craft beer & cider with offerings from more than 25 craft brewers in the #GCA (Greater County Area, aka from Cobourg to Kingston.) Taste the innovation a thriving craft beer scene brings, from stouts to saisons and everything in between. Enjoy live music, local food, beer and harvest-themed games and activities for tall and small alike.
The Maker’s Hand |November
The finest artisan show in Eastern Ontario, The Maker’s Hand curates a wide range of fine crafts by artisans who are dedicated to creating original designs using quality materials. Find one-of-a-kind items including jewellery, ceramics, glass, fibre arts, clothing, pottery and more.
Firelight Lantern Festival | November
As the darker days of autumn descend upon Prince Edward County, The Firelight Lantern Festival brings light to the community we love! Over the last five years, a team of local artists have taught more than 1,000 people how to make their own beautiful, handmade lanterns to carry in the annual parade. These community lantern-making workshops take place in various locations around The County and all are welcome; no experience or special talents are required! The workshops are great fun for adults and kids alike, and all materials and instruction are provided. Join the magical parade from Picton’s Benson Park to the Crystal Palace with stilt walkers, papier-mache puppets and giant animal-shaped lanterns lit from within. Enjoy live music, shadow puppetry, light installations and more!
Wassail | November & December
Ontario’s most unique wine celebration, Wassail pays tribute to the age old tradition of celebrating the harvest before the arrival of winter. Merrymakers would travel from house to house singing, feasting and, of course, quenching their thirst with local grog. In Prince Edward County, after harvest we rush to bury the vines to withstand the cold winter. Once the job is done, it’s time to party and everyone is invited! This modern version of Wassail is a fun time to visit wineries and join in the festivities. Arrive singing a seasonal tune and be treated to free tastes of mulled wine. Some wineries offer food pairings and sweet treats. Cross wine-lovers off your list with gifts of wine or wine-related items, or shop for unique, local and handmade crafts.
Vinter Festival | February
There’s a certain quiet magic that comes to The County in the winter months and Vinter Festival is an opportunity to experience wineries and vineyards during the hush of the snowy season over family day weekend. Sip winter wine favourites while chatting with winemakers; participate in the pairing of art and wine with a class or workshop on screen printing, jewellery making, oil painting and more; tour a cellar and learn more about the wine-making process; or strap on a pair of snowshoes and hike around the vines, buried against the winter’s chill. See a different side of The County!
Flashback February & Heritage Week | February
The County is steeped in history, and it comes alive with Flashback February, a week of arts, music, film and food. Highlights include County-inspired heritage trivia and period-specific cooking classes. Heritage Week celebrates our cultural, natural, architectural and archaeological heritage, providing an opportunity to explore how heritage is conserved, promoted and commemorated, and how it might shape the future.
Maple in The County | March
Taste nature’s candy by joining in The County’s first – and sweetest! – harvest of the season. Local sugarbushes open their doors for Maple in the County, featuring pancake breakfasts with fresh maple syrup, taffy on snow, s’mores, petting zoos, BBQ sausages, lumberjack show, artisan vendors, face painting and more. Wineries, restaurants and more get in on the action with delicious, seasonal menus highlighting maple syrup and featuring ingredients inspired to bring out the sweetness.
Countylicious | April & November
Countylicious is a celebration of fine dining in Prince Edward County featuring prix-fixe menus designed to showcase the best of County produce. Participating chefs create unique three-course, County-inspired dinner menus consisting of an appetizer, entrée, and dessert offered at $40 per person (plus taxes and gratuities). The County has been hailed as “the gastronomic Capital of Ontario” by The Globe and Mail. Countylicious is your chance to experience some of Prince Edward County’s best dining experiences, explore new restaurants or revisit old favourites.
CountyPOP | April
Remember your first concert? Did it have capes and a Rock Room for kids? County POP aims to stoke a love of live music in kids and adults alike. Keep the kids busy with capes, face painting and a rock-out room where they can try out a band’s worth of musical instruments. Keep the adults busy with food trucks, local beer, wine and cider and live tunes featuring guest appearances with out-of-town performers, creating memorable performances you won’t see anywhere else.
Birding Festivals | May & September
Join experts and special guests for a series of guided walks, talks and special crafts and games during spring and fall bird migration at the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory. This is one of the province’s best places to see the colourful and unusual birds that stop along the shores of Lake Ontario on their migratory routes. In May, welcome back the warblers, orioles and swallows at the southeastern end of the Long Point Peninsula in the South Shore, a designated Important Birding Area due to the more than 200 species of birds that rest and recharge here. Return in September for the southern migration and banding of the northern Saw-Whet Owl.
Terroir | June
Terroir is the Prince Edward County Winegrower’s Association’s annual spring wine and food festival. This one-day event showcases some of The County’s best wineries, restaurants and artisanal food producers. Join us for a spring celebration of the newly-released wines from highly-acclaimed wineries in Prince Edward County. Discover handcrafted, award-winning wines with an unmistakable sense of place. Experience winemaker seminars and cellar tours of 20 wineries, plus live music and 10 local food vendors.
See all upcoming festivals and events on our Prince Edward County calendar here.