Guy Fawkes Bonfire Night returning for fourth year in Dufferin

November 1, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Baker

Remember, remember the second of November.

Sure, it’s a few days early, but Orangeville residents will be afforded the opportunity to check out a traditional Guy Fawkes Bonfire Night this Saturday (Nov. 2), as Sharon Edmonds and her crew prepare to bring an evening of traditional British fun and games to Dufferin County. 

Taking place at the Orangeville Fairgrounds from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Bonfire Night will feature, as the name suggests, a large outdoor fire, fireworks, several kids activities, and British-styled food and drinks. 

The event itself is a direct nod to one of England’s largest celebrations of the year, where millions gather across the country to build and light bonfires and burn effigies referencing Guy Fawkes – one of the men behind the infamous Gunpowder Plot to blow up the House of Lords in London in 1605. 

This will mark the fourth successive year Ms. Edmonds has opened the event up to the local community. With Central Counties Tourism coming on board this year as a partner, Sharon is optimistic this will be the biggest and best Bonfire Night Dufferin County has ever seen. 

“This is the only festival of its type in Ontario. We’ve managed to turn Bonfire Night into a true Dufferin County event,” Ms. Edmonds previously told the Citizen. “We’re so excited. We have so much planned once again this year.”

The event will feature four hours of fun, for kids and adults alike. Starting at 4 p.m., youngsters in attendance will be afforded the opportunity to create their own ‘mini Guy’, which they will later parade down to the large bonfire. There’s an elaborate scavenger hunt planned, while, new this year, organizers will be hiding and burying candy in straw for children to find. Headlining the event is local band Slow Rolling Boil, who will be covering well-known British artists. Good Lot Farmstead Brewing and Pommies Cider will be back to serve alcoholic beverages, with Lavender Blue catering the event, and Britain on Broadway on hand to provide all sorts of British goodies.

While Bonfire Night runs until 8 p.m., gates will close at 6 p.m., at which point the bonfire will be lit. Then, at 7:30 p.m. DW fireworks will be presenting a display that Ms. Edmonds says is “twice the display of previous years’. 

This year’s event will mark a decade of Bonfire Nights in Canada for Sharon. While she has admitted in the past to missing the atmosphere generated on the day back in the U.K., this community-wide event has helped to plug that gap. Now, she’s encouraging Brits from far and wide to come out and reconnect with their history, while also encouraging Canadians to learn something new about their European counterparts.

The history behind the event traces back more than 400 years, when a group of 12 English rebels concocted a plan to blow up British Houses of Parliament and assassinate King James I. Smuggling large amounts of gunpowder into a cellar just below the House of Lords on Nov. 5, 1605, the group left the now notorious Guy Fawkes to guard the area. However, before they were able to set the gunpowder alight, Fawkes was caught and subsequently charged with high treason.

Although he wasn’t the leader of the group, Fawkes quickly became synonymous with the Gunpowder Plot and was hung, drawn and quartered for his part in the plot. On the night the plan was foiled, bonfires were set alight across Britain to celebrate the safety of the king. And so, a tradition was born.

Now, over 3,500 miles away on a  different continent, one British expat is delighted to have created a tradition of her own right here in Dufferin County. She’s hoping to help it become a tradition for dozens of other families in the area, too. With various activities aimed towards children, the community Bonfire Night is a real family-friendly event, says Ms. Edmonds. 

“If you bring your kids out to Bonfire Night they’re really getting the complete package,” Sharon said. “They get to learn some history about what was a very important event. They’ll be able to take part in an arts and craft activity, where they can make their very own Guy Fawkes to place on our big bonfire and then they’ll get the excitement of the fire and the fireworks. It’s all outside too, which makes it all the better.”

Tickets for the event can be purchased online by visiting Adult tickets are $11, while children under 14 can get in for $6. Any profits made through the event will be donated to Headwaters Health Care Centre.

“It’s honestly such a fantastic night of entertainment. We’re hoping to see more than 500 people come out and celebrate with us,” Ms. Edmonds said. “I love Bonfire Night. It’s always been a big deal for me and my family, hopefully we’re able to make this a big deal for many, many more families in Dufferin County.”


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