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Culture Days is usually a one-weekend affair each year celebrating the multifaceted heritages that make up Ontario.
But, like so many things this year, Culture Days 2020 is looking a little bit different this year and has been extended for a full month of celebrations – and here in Aurora those celebrations begin this Saturday at Town Park.
The Aurora Cultural Centre kicks things off on September 26 from 2 – 3.30 p.m. with the family-friendly Tribal Vision Dance Company at the Town Park bandshell. Headlined by Naomi and Derek Martin from Six Nations of the Grand River, along with three drummers, the free afternoon will feature live-singing, dancing and drumming, presented in contemporary Powwow and traditional Haudenosaunee styles, while audiences enjoy from their designated social bubbles.
Activities continue Sunday at Hillary House National Historic Site (15372 Yonge Street) with a Victorian Harvest Tea hosted by the Aurora Historical Society (AHS). In addition to the tea itself, the event will offer free sneak peek tours of Hillary House, a chance to play tennis, badminton or croquet on the lawn, and more.
Tickets for the Victorian Harvest Tea are $7 per person and advance purchase is required.
Over at the historic Aurora Armoury, a free Family Wellness Market featuring vendors supporting family wellness will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Culture Days activities carry on virtually and in-person through October 20 with programming to suit every taste and age group.
The Aurora Museum & Archives will take over the Armoury on Friday, October 2, with a revival of the Trailblazer Music Festival, an initiative founded in 2017 to coincide with the Canada 150 commemoration. Featuring performances from such up-and-coming local artists as Rob Watts and the Beresfords, a free seat at the music event must be reserved in advance. Dining packages courtesy of Niagara College's Canadian Food & Wine Institute can also be purchased in advance. The festival will take place from 6.30 – 9.30 p.m.
A second installment of the Trailblazer Music Festival, this time featuring the talents of Louisa Barbosa, Ian Marc & Sara, and Treeline, among others, will take place at the same time and location on Friday, October 10.
A popular family favourite, the Town of Aurora's Colours of Fall Concert returns on Thursday, October 8, as part of this year's Culture Days program. Running from 6 – 7.30 p.m. at the Town Park band shell, bring your blanket and enjoy live entertainment from Lennon Live, a celebration of John Lennon.
A pre-Thanksgiving celebration, the Colours of Fall concert will feature complimentary pumpkins and carving tools so families can showcase their creative spirit and get a head-start on Hallowe'en fun.
While the event is free, the Town encourages donations of non-perishable food items to benefit the Aurora Food Pantry. For those unable to secure a limited number of free spaces at Town Park, the concert will be live-streamed on the Town's Facebook and YouTube channels.
Throughout September 26 – October 20, various virtual cooking demonstrations will be hosted and the Aurora Historical Society will offer several opportunities to get up-close and personal with storied items from their collection.
Celebrations wrap up October 20 right where they started, back at Town Park for family pumpkin carving.
For more information on Culture Days, including how to register for all of the activities listed here, visit aurora.ca/culturedays. For a full roster of plans beyond Aurora, visit culturedays.ca.
By Brock Weir
Local Journalism Initiative
Excerpt: Tribal Vision Dance Company and Aurora Cultural Centre help launch month-long series of family-friendly programs and activities.
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