Guy Fawkes Bonfire Night coming to fairgrounds Nov. 3

October 22, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Baker

It’s that time of the year again.

As November approaches, so too does an annual event that Sharon Edmonds says has captured the imagination of the community over the past few years. The Guy Fawkes Bonfire Night Celebration will return to the OAS Event Centre on Saturday, Nov. 3, and Ms. Edmonds is preparing to once again introduce Canadians to “the coolest night of the year in Britain”.

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 1605.

This will mark the third successive year Ms. Edmonds has opened the event up to the local community. Following two years of growing pains, Sharon was delighted to announce that this year’s Bonfire Night would be an all-local affair, with all businesses and vendors involved located right here in Dufferin County.

“That’s probably the biggest change for us this year. We’ve managed to turn this into a true Dufferin County event – organized by the community, for the community using community resources,” Ms. Edmonds said. “We’re so excited – it’s hard to believe we’re a little more than two weeks away from the big day. We’ve got so much planned this time around.”

The event runs from 4 to 8 p.m. and will feature a bonfire, fireworks, live band, children’s scavenger hunt, arts and craft activity and storytelling session highlighting the history of Bonfire Night. Lavender Blue Catering will be on hand to provide a traditional British feast for those in attendance, while Britain on Broadway will operate a tuck shop offering a wide variety of English treats.

This will be Sharon’s ninth Bonfire Night in Canada, and 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 the gap and then some. 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 goes back over 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 completely different continent, a British expat is hoping to create a tradition of her own for Dufferin County residents. 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 $10, while children under 14 can get in for $5. 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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