Plans afoot for second annual Guy Fawkes Bonfire Night

October 27, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Pickford

After turning her dream into a reality last year, Sharon Edmonds is looking forward to bringing some British history back to Dufferin County again next month with the second annual Guy Fawkes Bonfire Night Celebration.

Pencilled in for Saturday, Nov. 4, the event is a direct nod to one of England’s largest celebrations of the year, where they light bonfires and burn effigies referencing Guy Fawkes – one of the men behind the infamous Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Set to take over the Orangeville Agricultural Event Centre, Ontario’s only organized Bonfire Night celebration will be “bigger and better” this time around, as promised by Ms. Edmonds and her partner in crime, former Mono councillor Elaine Capes.

After taking the brave, bold step last year to turn what was previously a backyard, friends and family shindig into huge community celebration, the duo have worked hard to iron out the minor kinks that beset last year’s inaugural event. As such, you can expect more food and more entertainment in two weeks’ time and, in truly recognizing British tradition, there will be beer on sale this year.

“That was an important thing for us to try and get this year. Last year’s event was so much fun and while I think all of those that came out enjoyed themselves, I heard a few comments about how it would be nice if people of age could enjoy a beer while appreciating the fire,” Ms. Edmonds said. “We’re excited as well to announce that the Feisty Jack food truck will be back this year, this time with even more food and even more stations, which should help to keep lineups to a minimum.”

This will be Ms. Edmonds’ eighth Bonfire Night in Canada and while she admits to having missed the atmosphere that’s generated on the day back in the U.K., last year’s celebration helped to plug the gap. Now, she’s hoping to see Brits from far and wide 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 the 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 of that year, 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 Orangeville and area residents. With various activities aimed towards children, Orangeville’s 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.”

New this year, local musician Graham Maycock will be performing from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., while a scavenger hunt and various storytelling sessions have also been planned. For those traveling a distance to attend, Hockley Valley Resort has come on board as a partial partner, offering special packages for those looking to spend the night in the community following the event.

“We’re just excited again now. It’s been a lot of work and a lot of planning, but 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,” Ms. Edmonds said.

Tickets are $10 in advance for adults, $5 for accompanying youth 19 or younger. Tickets will be available at the door at an increased rate of $15. Ms. Edmonds is encouraging those interested in attending to get their tickets fast so the group can ensure they have enough food, and beer, for everyone.

For more information, or to book your tickets, visit

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