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Turtlefest 2017 is upon us and it is going to rock this year!

Have you checked out the website? There are so many choices of what to do: entertainment, fun for the kids, it just goes on and on. Best thing you can do is go to the website turtlefest.ca and make a list of what you want to see and when you want to see it. I hope for those without Internet that you will be able to find it all in today’s paper.

I am going to talk about some of events going on which normally don’t get as much publicity as our stage and paid entertainers do. But don’t miss them, there is quite the line up of artists from barbershop, country, and some I have no idea what they sing!

Let’s start with the Friday night Downtown Block Party on the 16th from 4-9 p.m., where you will find our wide Broadway (not Broadway Street or Road, just Broadway!) lined on both sides with all kinds of booths and displays. You will find our wonderful and generous merchants downtown displaying special wares, food, churches, service clubs, assorted information booths, activities, the Classic Car Show, street performers, music, licensed patios and of course the Country 107.3 stage and VIP Experience with fantastic entertainment.

The Tillsonburg & District Historic Society Pioneers will have a booth, thankfully on the shady side of the street this year. The Pioneers will welcome you and the kids to play old Pioneer games in our parlour setting. You will find us there or roaming the streets checking out the modern wonders of our world. You can chat with them, learn their stories, or find out what it was like in Tillsonburg 150 years ago when we became a country.

Saturday the fun starts at 11 a.m. at the Tillsonburg Fairgrounds where you will find the Turtlefest Stage, music, inflatables, a vendor alley, Canine Watersports, outdoor movie, food booths, Gopher Dunes Mini Bikes, roller skating and more. (Ditto most of that again for Sunday.) There is a $5 admission pass per person each day, which gives you access to all the Memorial Park/fairgrounds events, excluding rentals, signup fees, food and beverages.

This year the Annual Creative Imaginations Festival will be held Saturday, June 17, from 10 a.m. till 2 p.m. at Memorial Park.

On Saturday, the fun starts at 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. all around Annandale National Historic Site with Turtley Games like Pin The Shell On The Turtle, Turtle Golf, Turtle Toss, Turtle Frisbee, and Turtle Drop. Although it sounds like we are being cruel, no live turtles are involved in these games! You also get to create with Turtle Playdough or make your own turtle shell, decorate it and wear it around for the day! (I want to do that.) And you can make turtle magnets from foam to give to Dad for the fridge on Fathers Day on Sunday! Theatre Tillsonburg will be doing face painting from 12-2 p.m. on the lawn as well.

Unfortunately, Turtle Haven will not be here with Peek-A-Boo and the live turtles, but Angie plans on coming back again as they love Turtlefest. You will still be able learn about turtles and how you can help this species at risk.

Scooter the Skunk will be present for part of the day with my wildlife booth. Unfortunately, Dolly the blind skunk has just passed away at the grand age of 5 and will miss your annual visits, but Scooter will do her best for you and we have lots of information on wildlife for you.

While the kids are playing, parents can check out Tourism Oxford booth. You will be surprised at all the cool things there are to do in our county! (Like the Cheese Tour that goes to Cup and Cake.)

The whole family can enjoy touring Annandale House while doing the popular Turtle Find - how many turtles you can spot in the house? All the above at Annandale NHS is free to the public.

Also on the lawn will be author Jan Everett reading her children's book, Never Give Up, a great time to meet the author and get an autograph. Annandale Public School is having a Kindergarten Story Walk and Lemonade Stand with which they hope to raise some funds for new playground equipment.

The Station Arts Centre offers brand new games, balloon animals, a giant mural to paint, crafts and more! Zilli Zi Zoo 2 Go will be bringing their animals and reptiles for an educational and fun experience! Play Plink-o or Spin to win the opportunity of a coveted spot at the Art Camp or Craft Camp during the summer. There are also opportunities to win small prizes throughout your time at the festival! Stop by, grab a sno-cone, get your face painted and have a blast with them!

To get ready for Turtlefest, you can prepare for the Station Art’s Turtley Treats Baking Contest. While the title is a mouthful, so are the entries. Bake up your best recipes from scratch and see if you can crack the shell of our judges. The entry form and rules can be found on the Turtlefest website

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