The following article first appeared in The Echo of Cantley Volume 2 no 1, July 2017. This article is made available for the enjoyment of others with the express permission of the Echo of Cantley.
From 1880 to 2004, the highlight of every summer was our country fair - the Cantley Picnic. Organized entirely by volunteers, it attracted hundreds of people from as far away as Ottawa. They came for the games … contests … delicious food … famous homemade pies … live music … dancing … but mostly to have fun with friends and neighbours!
Since 2016, Cantley 1889 has been working with Theatre Wakefield to discover why this fair was so important to the community of Cantley. By interviewing Cantley’s elders, we learned about life in earlier times, colourful Cantley characters and details about the Cantley Picnic which made it so fun.
On Saturday, July 22nd these characters will come to life at the resurrected Cantley Picnic in Ian Tamblyn’s latest musical play, “A Summer… A Fair”. Theatre Wakefield’s professional cast will perform stories and songs that are always amusing, often hilarious and sometimes poignant as they recreate Cantley’s history.
The Cantley Premiere will be extra special, capturing the spirit of the Cantley fair. It will take place at the century-old site of the Cantley Picnic – St. Elizabeth’s Parish Grounds (inside the Parish Hall if it rains) AND … this performance will be immediately followed by square-dancing with a live band and caller!
Ian Tamblyn’s other musical plays, “A Bridge to the Past” (2015) and “A River Runs Through Us” (2016), previously delighted enthusiastic audiences around the Outaouais. After July 22, “A Summer… A Fair” will tour at least a dozen other communities around the region.
Don’t miss this first musical play about Cantley! Bring your own picnic anytime before the 1 pm performance. Enjoy old-fashioned refreshments provided by the Cantley Lions Club. ZBring lawn chairs and sunscreen. Free admission (donations welcome). It’s the perfect occasion to have fun with friends and neighbours!
With the support of the Department of Canadian Heritage, Theatre Wakefield’s longer-term goal for this project is to work with communities to share theatre, music, dance, film, or visual arts from many sources in a regional touring network.