Come Wander
Take a Detour to these Unique Festivals

I was driving down the road the other day, when I saw a sign I often dread, “Detour Ahead.” Being that I sometimes cut things close (okay, maybe more than sometimes), coming across this sign almost always means I’ll be late to wherever I’m going.

As I continued down the road, additional signage let me know that the reason for this upcoming detour was not the typical kind. It was not for construction, and thankfully not the result of an accident, but for a festival; a celebration so joyous that the main drag was closed down for the day. So I asked myself, “Why not embrace it?”

Maybe this sign was telling me what I really needed: a detour from the everyday rush I’m often in.

Too often it seems we’re scrambling to get from one destination to the next; too busy to appreciate the moments in between. But why? What’s the worst thing that’s going to happen if we take a minute to smell the roses, embrace a detour every now and then, and just stop rushing? Maybe in taking a break from our every day, we’ll find ourselves laughing until it hurts, dancing with new friends, and having our breath taken away by moments of incredible beauty.

Maybe by throwing away our schedules, even for a day, we’ll be able to just be.

Below are five of my favourite unique music festivals, just in case you want to take a detour from your everyday.

1) Palmer Rapids Twin Music Festival

With stars lining up on both a country stage and a blues stage, this is two full festivals, each taking place on its own stage, just a 3 minute walk apart. And to cap it all off, the festival takes place on the banks of the beautiful Madawaska River.

2) Hike Haliburton

Consisting of more than 80 guided hikes, this weekend event has something for everyone; arts, culture, heritage, and even foodie experiences, just to name a few.

3) Calabogie Blues & Ribfest

The name sums this event up, but it’s even more than you can imagine. Incredible music, delicious food, and a ton of laughter and dancing, all taking place in a beautiful setting.

4) Madawaska Valley Studio Tour

More than an opportunity to uncover local artwork and hidden treasures, this is an opportunity to meet the artists and get a glimpse at their studios; where magic happens.

5) Front Porch Shenanigans

The front porches of Stirling come to life during this festival, transforming into stages for live local bands and singers to perform from. Visitors can wander Front and Church Streets to take in a free afternoon filled with more than 20 live musical acts.


Storyteller Jennifer GilmerStoryteller: Jennifer Gilmer. Hometown: Port Hope, ON

Jennifer is a lover of cats, small towns, and everything chocolate. When she isn’t looking for opportunities to try out new recipes or dishes, or reading countless books, she’s busy planning her next road trip and encouraging others to search out hidden gems. Some of her happiest moments include basking in the sun at the end of a dock, laughing the day away at a backyard barbecue, or letting her creativity flow during an evening of sketching with a glass of wine at her side.


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