This tiny hamlet of 3,000, just outside Simcoe, has one of the largest pumpkin festivals in Canada and is something all members of the family will enjoy. The parade is not fancy. It's hokey and therein lies the appeal - about an hour long with plenty of tractors, horses, walking pumpkins, scarecrows, lots of small kids in costumes, antique fire trucks and bands.
In the village, a giant pyramid made of 1,500 pumpkins with spooky carved faces lights up at night.
Walk the nearby tiny main street, Alice Street for shops to keep you occupied, especially antiques.
On my recent visit, I stepped into Boomers Old Tin Toys at the front of Alice Street. Owner, Boomer Villeneuve said, "My shop, like me, is completely unique. It's the only shop of its kind that's devoted entirely to toys." After walking the narrow aisles crammed with antique tin toys I believed him.
Across the road was another store worth browsing. HOBO Music has vintage records, guitars, banjos, harmonicas, fiddles and anything related to music. At the other end of the street are two large antique shops housed in an early 1900's building that one time housed the Dominion Telephone Manufacturing Company. I got a charge out of a sign in one of these shops that read, "We buy junk...we sell antiques."
Ladies, check out the quilt shop across the road in an old railroad depot. And before you leave, walk to Nanticoke Creek (parallel to Alice Street), sit on a bench and watch the winding creek go by.
During the festival there's a carnival at the foot of Alice Street for kids and those, like me, who think they are still kids. You see dozens of front lawns and porches with Halloween displays. Many vintage homes in this village have been lovingly maintained.
On the weekend, there's a large craft show, used clothing sale, and pumpkin baked goods sale, inside the local high school gym. On Sunday morning there is a large classic car show starting at 8am outside the school. Zombie Walks are offered both days for a fee of $5.00 for adults and $2.00 for children less than 12 years of age.
At the arena, there is an interactive Kid's Zone from 10-3 pm. Adults are free and children pay $3.00 to use all the terrific attractions. There's a Soapbox Derby at 11 am on Sunday at the corner of St. James and West Church Street.
One of the things I like about this festival is that a few of the churches serve meals. Check out the lunches (11-3 pm) offered at Trinity Anglican Church and dinners at Waterford United Church (4:30-6:30 pm). If you like Chinese food, visit Yin's Restaurant in town. The combination plates are huge. You might consider sharing.
Waterford Pumpkin Fest 2014 Drone Fly Over
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George Bailey contributes to Sun Media's 43 paid-circulation newspapers across Canada as well as numerous magazines. George has appeared on CNN, Good Morning America, Canada AM, The Discovery Channel, and Live with Regis and Cathy Lee. He has published five books on Niagara Falls.