10 Things to do in May in Prince Edward County🌷
Remember when hideous blowing snow and driving freezing rain kept us all locked up inside? Yeah, me neither! Because it’s spring and there’s SO MUCH to do!
Start the month off right with County Pop Music Festival, on May 4, with headliner Jill Barber, whose sneaky summer concerts in the barn at By Chadsey’s Cairns have cemented a place in our hearts. Strumming alongside her are local favourites Norris & Jones and Grace Bongard, plus the Peter Elkas Band, Durham County Poets and the Layrite Boys.
If sunsets and strings are more your thing, Closson Chase Vineyards is presenting cellist Cameron Crozman on May 4 in Sunset & Strings in the Garden, a concert in support of Wellington Water Week.
On May 11, 18 voices will come together for The Road Not Taken, a County Chamber Choir performance featuring the poetry of Robert Frost set to English and French madrigals from the renaissance period.
Quinte’s Isle Bluegrass Celebration returns for its 11th season on May 24-26, with a weekend jammed with local and regional Canadian bands coming together for music, food, fun and friendship.
Now that the ice has cleared, it’s time to get out on the water and land a big one! Bay of Quinte is known as one of the top destinations for walleye fishing the world and this month, anglers from all over descend for the Walleye World Fishing Tournament, May 4-5, with more than $200,000 in prizes available.
If a simple rod and reel is more your style, drop into the Kids Fishing Derby in Bloomfield on May 11. There’s a barbecue lunch and prizes for longest and shortest fish, plus the strangest catch!
The County’s south shore is a designated “Important Birding Area,” due to the thousands of birds that stop in on their migratory flight across the lake. This month, join a South Shore Safari (morning adventures on May 4 or 26 or evening expeditions on May 26 and June 8.) Tour with guides from the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory (PEPtBO), who’ll escort guests to hidden gems, point out flora, fauna and feathered friends, and wind up the day with a gourmet lunch or dinner.
Or join in the Spring Birding Festival, May 11-20, where PEPtBO’s new banding laboratory will have its debut. Visitors can hike the National Wildlife Area with binoculars at the ready, or join a guided walk, or watch volunteers at work, collecting, measuring and monitoring migratory birds.
On May 17-19 or May 24-26, get up close with warblers and capture the moment with photographer Phil Norton, who’s offering half-day Bird & Nature Photography Tours when the warblers at the peak of their mating season plumage.
HatchGallery kicks off its summer exhibition season on May 4 with rare, original works by Montmartre painter George Bottini. Born in Paris in 1874, Bottini was a painter, draftsman, water colourist and engraver. He is famous for his delicate paintings of women in Parisian cafes, bars and brothels.
On May 11, the newly-formed Prince Edward County Art Dealers Association hosts “Bid for the Build,” an art auction in support of the expansion of the local hospital. More than 100 curated art works will be available for bid – including an original Maud Lewis painting!
Coax Mom out to The County and treat her like a queen. On May 9, in honour of Queen Victoria’s 200th Birthday, Macaulay Heritage Park will host A Tea for the Queen with Brian Musselwhite and Conrad Biernacki of the Black River B&B. It’s a salon-cum-Antiques Roadshow with high tea thrown into the mix. (Conrad is an incredible baker with no fear of butter – and his shortbread recipe is borrowed from Buckingham Palace.)
On Mother’s Day – May 12, mark it down and get that card in the mail! – Sand & Pearl hosts comedians Ashley Comeau and Connor Thompson for a musical Mother’s Day Cabaret.
To work off that meal, join naturalist Yvette Bree at Sandbanks Provincial Park for a “Spring Things” Walk & Afternoon Tea, with genial hosts in period costume serving tea and goodies alongside live music and an art exhibition.
After a dull and dreary early spring, it’s suddenly green, green, green. Celebrate on May 11 with The County Cider Company’s Apple Blossom Festival, featuring locally-made pies sold by the slice or circle, plus wood-fired pizza and free hard cider tastings.
On May 18-19, ring in spring with the Black River Spring Festival, a new event that invites visitors to stop in at more than a dozen venues in the thriving Black River community. Stops include organic farms, the cheese factory, art galleries, photography exhibits and pottery studios. Have a vegetarian lunch, or a treat-filled high tea, or a farm-to-table feast. This is one of the prettiest roads in The County, lined with old stone fences and lots of Loyalist lore.
Plus, on May 18-19, it’s the return of Vicki’s Veggies Heirloom Tomato Seedling Sale, an absolute carnival of activities to help usher in spring. If your green thumb still won’t stop throbbing, drop into the Wellington Heritage Museum for the Heirloom Plant Sale on May 25, featuring heirloom and native plants, or the Master Gardeners Plant Sale, also on May 25, or simply breathe in the spring blooms at the annual Rotary Lilac Ride, a 25, 50 or 100-km route that’s lined with deliciously fragrant lilacs.
On May 11, explore The County with Adventure PEC, your chance to travel from one shore to the other in search of clues, all while dressed in costume and marking each stop with a selfie. This is a new-ish, yet instantly loveable event that will take you places you’d never imagined! (Plus, it kicks off from the Macaulay Heritage Park, which just happens to be hosting its first of four “Second Saturday” markets featuring handmade, vintage and rummage items – plus the mobile sauna and wood-fired pizza!)
For a different kind of Choose Your Own Adventure across The County, join fellow revelers for Terroir, moved this year to the Victoria Day Weekend and actually moving – as in, participants move from winery to winery. Lots of new releases to taste, plus some fun food pairings too. Full details here.
Step Back in Time.
Get a taste for early Loyalist life when the Rendez-Vous Gathering of Friends meets at Ameliasburgh Heritage Village for a re-enactment weekend, May 18-19. Committed re-enactors camp on-site, living as Loyalists would have done in their earliest days in Canada, gathering around the cooking pot, playing games and indulging hobbies. Visitors can join in the fun, with games for kids like hoop & rod or the frying pan toss, or watch demonstrations of knife throwing, tomahawk throwing or atlatl throwing, an Indigenous mechanism for throwing spears.
The weather is definitely warmer, but if you can’t shake the feeling that, as Game of Thrones fans everywhere say: “Winter is coming!” you should head to Fibrefest on May 25. Find dozens of diverse vendors carrying fibre, felted garments, hand-dyed wool, fleece, yarns, pottery and so much more. There are workshops in felting, spinning, knitting, dyeing, and crochet. Plus! Lots of fuzzy fibre friends including – alpacas, sheep, and rabbits.
Take in a Performance.
Finally, the nights are getting longer. Spend them getting a little culture! On May 24-26, Shatterbox Theatre presents The Small Room at the Top of The Stairs at The Regent Theatre, a psychological thriller written by Governor General Award Winning playwright Carole Fréchette.
And on May 31, Wellington Heritage Museum opens its new garden for the first in a series of Night at the Museum events. The evening features soloists with prepared texts from plays, performances and scripted soliloquys and is presented in concert with popular local “Doin’ it Solo” productions.