ABBAmania will be the highlight of the Newcastle Fall Festival which runs from Fri., Oct. 2 to Sat., Oct. 3 this year, as organizers bring a mix of new and old features to the annual event. The festival in its current form is now in its tenth year, says events co-ordinator Karen Bastas.
Things kick off Friday evening with all your favourite rides at the Midway, running from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., and starting up again at 9 a.m. Saturday, in the lot right beside the CIBC in downtown Newcastle. Hot dogs, sausages and pop will be for sale on the grounds of the Midway.
The Knights of Columbus Pancake Breakfast makes for a good start Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Newcastle Town Hall. At 8:30 a.m., the Running Maniacs get things moving with a 5km and 10 km run at the Newcastle & District Recreation Complex.
Returning again this year, the Lions Dog Walk begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday, with registration starting at 8 a.m. at the Town Hall. Saturday will also bring the return of the Craft Show and Street Vendors, including the Lions BBQ, and featuring live alpacas, along King Ave. in downtown Newcastle, starting at 10 a.m. and running all day.
Also starting at 10 a.m., the Town Hall will have lots of activities for the whole family. There will be a new feature this year, all-day Pumpkin Face Painting hosted by Algoma Orchards, as well as an old favourite, bingo, hosted by the Clarington Older Adults Association.
Newcastle resident Gina Gallacher, who is helping promote the festival this year, has been attending the fall event with her son every year for the past ten years. She says the festival is meant for young and old alike. “This is a real family event,” she says. “There are lots of kids’ activities, but there are also things for older people, like bingo, the old-fashioned cars and the antique tractors.”
Another popular attraction, Jungle Cat World, will be making a return visit to the Town Hall on Saturday, at noon. “Jungle Cat World has been coming to the Fall Festival for as long as I can remember,” says Gallacher. “We get them every year,” confirms Bastas. “They do a fantastic job.” In past years, Jungle Cat World has brought a wolf, a couple of large cats, a tarantula, a snake and other reptiles, according to Bastas.
There will be plenty of live entertainment on Saturday, starting with the band Friendly Fire over at the Newcastle Library from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Meanwhile, the Ganaraska Country Cloggers will perform at 1 p.m. at the Town Hall, and the band Hoppy’s Heroes will play from 1:30 to 3 p.m. in front of the Old Newcastle House (formerly the Black Knight Lounge).
The festival culminates with ABBAmania on Saturday evening at the Town Hall. ABBAmania is a tribute band that plays ABBA songs that the whole family can enjoy (children are welcome). According to Bastas, the band played Newcastle last February and was a huge hit. “They are the next best thing to ABBA,” she says. “They’re really good.”
The MC for the show will be Dan Carter of CHEX TV, and there will be a cash bar with proceeds going to the Newcastle Walk for Dog Guides. It will be reserved floor seating, with advanced tickets available at the Massey House Restaurant in Newcastle. Tickets for the show, which cost $30, will also be available at the door.