Looking for a long weekend activity? Here are 9 events in Ontario cottage country

Family walking on the grass at an outdoor fairground Photo by Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

With the August long weekend around the corner, you might be stressing over how to make the most of your free time with some long weekend activities. Well, stress no more: not only are there lots of cottage country celebrations to attend from August 4 to 7, but they all bring unique flavours of entertainment to the table, from live world music and local cultural celebrations to horse racing and bagpipe competitions!

Glengarry Highland Games

August 4 to 5
34 Fair Street, Maxville

Are you a fan of bagpipe bands, Highland dancing, or Scottish fiddling? If so, the Glengarry Highland Games are for you! This is one of the biggest Highland Games in the world, featuring more than 60 competing bagpipe groups and around 200 dancers. It’s drawn close to a million visitors since its inception in 1948. There are plenty of music workshops, sports competitions, and entertaining activities planned at this $30/day Scottish festival. No pets; only service animals are allowed.

Annual Lombardy Fair

August 4 to 6
6 Kellys Road, Lombardy

Visit Lombardy Fair for $20/day to watch the Demolition Derby and the Monster Truck events, or pass by the fair’s quiet park for a picnic complete with live entertainment. Don’t miss Lombardy’s annual Achievement Day competition, where local youth members of the agricultural society enter their cows for a chance to win. 

Festival of Friends

August 4 to 6
Gage Park, 1000 Main Street East, Hamilton

This free concert series is held across three venues: Eastgate Ford Main Stage, OLG Bandshell Stage, and the Tim Hortons Acoustic showcase. This year, it features performances by Matty Simpson, the James Barker Band, Dan Walsh, the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, and Banned From Heaven. Check the programming on their website to find out the showtimes.


August 4 to 7
Kempenfelt Bay, Innisfil

This annual event isn’t slowing down after 50 years: there are more than 350 unique arts and crafts exhibitions, more than 40 hours of live music, and a massive antiques show on the docket for this year’s Kempenfest. You can enjoy artisan jams and chocolates on the bay shore while watching performances by Tom Cochrane and Finger Eleven. The event has some free shows but requires paid tickets for others, so make sure to check the website’s admissions page for more information.

Canal Days Marine Heritage Festival

August 4 to 8
Vale Health & Wellness Centre, 550 Elizabeth Street, Port Colborne

There’s never a dull moment at Port Colborne’s long weekend festival. Swing by to catch the province’s largest outdoor classic car show, family-friendly games, and an indoor craft show. The event’s concert series includes Sam Roberts Band, Pink Floyd Niagara, and the Caverners. Only service dogs are allowed at this free festival, so please leave your furry friends at home.

Meaford Second Annual Summer Fest

August 5 to 6
100 Sykes Street North, Meaford

With around 30 vendors attending this year, Meaford’s annual celebration is growing! This free event features a poutine-making competition, a classic car show, and a dog parade to honour Beautiful Joe, a Meaford dog from the 1890s that inspired a bestselling novel by the same name.


August 5 to 6
Kenora Harbourfront, Kenora

On the evening of August 5, tune into Northern Ontario’s largest music festival, Harbourfest, to hear the likes of the Northern Royals, the Grapes of Wrath, and Shadow Junction before a fireworks show! The festival also has ongoing activities including carnival games, science shows, bouncy castles, and boat parades. Live concerts and the evening show with Al Simmons require paid tickets, but all other daytime activities are free. 

The Essa National Draft Horse Show

August 5 to 6
7505 10th Line, Thornton

This two-day display of horse riding talent is for all you horse enthusiasts. Not only will you get to see the magnificent horses up close, you’ll also get to watch them showcase their strength and agility as they and their riders compete in the Equine Mounted Games. Be sure to also check out the show’s vendors and exhibitors while you’re there. Admission is $10/day.

Niagara Fiesta Extravaganza

August 5 to 6
Firemen’s Park, 2275 Dorchester Road, Niagara Falls

Niagara Fiesta Extravaganza is a Filipino-centric event all about connecting people and celebrating each other’s heritage. Filipino music, food, and performances expand your cultural horizons while the various games and car shows will keep you entertained throughout.

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