Picture perfect blue skies and the green fields of the Moodie-Cameron farm set an ideal stage for Tay Valley Township’s Settlers Heritage Day and Lanark County Plowing Match on Aug. 20. The tremendously successful event brought visitors, locals and plowing match participants together for a full day of competition, information and celebration as part of the area’s 200th Anniversary signature events.
Visitors had a jam packed day taking in all the activities, exhibits and demonstrations. Larger than expected crowds stayed entertained with the music of the Bowes Brothers and live action displays of blacksmithing, sheep shearing, fence-building and even weaving on a traditional loom. Wee ones were amused with storytelling, face painting, a corral of miniature animals and even a Tay Valley trivia quest, encouraging them to interact with exhibitors.
The furthest traveling visitor was California resident Robert Holderness. Mr. Holderness made a special trip to the event as his ancestors were amongst those families that traveled on the first settler ship, The Atlas, a face he learned while researching his family history. After wintering in Brockville, these first settlers trekked to, and eventually homesteaded in, the environs in and around Tay Valley.
Genealogical displays, 200-year-old land records, antiques and heritage craft exhibits helped visitors appreciate and learn what life was like for the first settlers.
The Lanark Drumming Circle was on hand to perform a sacred smudging ceremony and to drum and sing songs dedicated to all ancestors and their lands. They spoke to the sense of community and welcoming that existed between those early settlers and the original indigenous peoples, a relationship that continues today.
Registered plowing competitors mounted tractors and put their plowing skills into play, vying for points and placings to advance to the International Plowing Match, Sept. 20-24th in Harriston, Town of Minto.
Special VIP and media plowers included MPP Randy Hillier, Lanark Co. Warden Gail Code, Tay Valley Reeve Keith Kerr, former Lanark Co. Warden, Gordon Patterson, Ontario Queen of the Furrow Kathryn Chant, Lake 88’s Brian Perkins, Tay Valley Councillor Jennifer Dickson, former Lanark County Queen of the Furrow Treena Code, 200th Anniversary Working Group member and event organizer David Taylor, and one of the newest “settlers” to the area, Syrian born Ahmad Almdhe, who proudly took the red ribbon in the VIP division!
The Two Rivers Food Hub had a special presence with a “Taste of the Tay” sampling table that featured Tay Valley growers, producers and farm gate outlets. It demonstrated that the township’s strong agricultural roots continue to thrive on modern day farms. Over 50 of these family farms received Legacy Farm Certificates, a joint 200th Anniversary initiative that honoured family farms that held 100, 150 or 200 years of same family ownership. Recipients proudly received their certificates in a ceremony conducted by Tay Valley councillor and chair of the 200th anniversary working group, Jennifer Dickson, and Tay Valley Reeve Keith Kerr.
The event showcased the best of Tay Valley’s proud history, community values, agricultural roots and welcoming atmosphere.