Small Halls Festival getting ready

 Gisele Winton Sarvis

CLEARVIEW TWP. - The award winning Small Halls Festival has a full slate of events at nine community halls celebrating the best that rural living has to offer.

The three-day Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 festival has more ticketed events of high calibre entertainment combined with free multi-activity family events than ever.

“This is going to be bigger and better than last year year. Every year you grow as a festival and learn what works,” said Tim Hendry, Clearview’s marketing and communications coordinator.

The Small Halls Festival was created in partnership with Clearview Township to create awareness around the community centres that have been a cornerstone of the community for decades.

“They are very old buildings and they have a rich history. Some were old schools. They need repairs and Small Halls is a fundraiser,” he said.

The first festival in 2014 tested the waters of how people would take to it and organizers were rewarded with an Festival Events Ontario Achievement Awards of Best New Event.

Last year, it expanded to all nine community halls with more volunteers helping to host more events. That was rewarded as a finalist with the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario’s Tourism Event of the Year.

Last year’s event was successful in raising community awareness about the small halls.

“It helped with bookings over the years,” said Hendry.

This year ticketed events include:

      The River Town Saints country band performing at the Brentwood Community Centre on Saturday night at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $35 and include opening acts of Karla Crawford and Austin McCarthy.

      Rural Route Tour led by local playwright Dan Needles on Saturday morning at 8:45 from the Avening Community Centre. Tickets cost $40 and include breakfast and lunch.

      Elliott Brood at the Avening Hall on Saturday night at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $30.

“The residents should really have a good time,” at the ticketed events and the funds raised will be used for renovations, said Hendry.

Free family events include a full roster at the Duntroon Hall on Saturday including the ever popular high chicken races, blacksmith demonstration, an antique tractor and engine show, the Bowmore Settlement Map project, a local farmer’s market and the Duntroon lunch.

Also on Saturday at the Stayner Community Centre is the super hero and princess breakfast, story and craft party, followed by a knighting ceremony and dance workshops. Sunday is another family day at the Stayner Community Centre.

In Creemore the Station on the Green is hosting artists work Saturday and Sunday with poetry readings by Paul Eprile at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. both days.

For the more adventurous, Singhampton Hall is hosting a Bruce Trail hike Sunday.

Yuk Yuk’s Comedy and live music by the Strange Potatoes together with a rib dinner is being presented at the Nottawa Hall Saturday night.

One sad note is that the master mind of the festival, Clearview’s Shane Sargant died suddenly in July.

“It’s definitely been a challenge not having Shane with us,” said Hendry.

Sargant had laid the foundation for this year’s festival, pulling together all the individual hall boards and volunteers and doing a lot of background work, he said.

“Shane made a legacy in this community that will continue to shine through for many years. In memory of Shane we are going to make it good.”

Festival organizers have also been able to secure more local business sponsors which include Creemore Springs Brewery, Tim Hortons Stayner and Collus PowerStream.

For a full listing of halls, events, tickets ( maps and local accommodations, go to


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