On June 21st, the Northern Hemisphere welcomed the Summer Solstice, officially marking the beginning of summer! With origins dating as far back as ancient Egypt and the correspondence of the rising of the Nile, and significance seen in Neolithic times with the illuminating of bonfires, and even monuments corresponding to the alignment of the sun, most famously England's Stonehenge. Here in St. Thomas, one of our favourite ways to welcome the summer is with the Horton Farmers' Market.
Some summer market favourites include summer squash, cucumber, peppers, tomatoes, watermelon, strawberries and more! The spacious outdoor pavilions with beautifully painted picnic benches will be fantastic for upcoming sunny weather, with cold freezers in the indoor pavilion keeping the dairy and meat goods nice and fresh! Get some fresh air and soak in some rays while you shop for the sweetest, freshest, crunchiest and most delicious produce Elgin has to offer! And remember to stay hydrated!
June 21st also marks Indigenous Peoples Day, where the Indigenous Peoples of Canada are recognized, remembered and celebrated for their diverse culture, history and heritage. It's a distinct opportunity to celebrate Indigenous persons and their ancestors' unique connections and relationships with this place for thousands of years. This comes from the vital understanding that we are all related and connected, including our connections to animate and inanimate beings, who sustain us by providing all that we need for life.
After enjoying the abundance available each week at Horton, it's essential to recognize the Food Systems that include all of the land, air, water, soil and culturally significant plant, animal and fungi species that have sustained Indigenous peoples over thousands of years, in contrast to the industrial, linear food systems we have today, traditional Indigenous food systems cultivated, harvested, prepared and preserved foods within boundaries that respect the planet. Today, we honour the Indigenous community and the work they have done and continue doing for food, earth and health.
We acknowledge that the land in which the Horton Farmers' Market resides is the traditional lands and territory of the Haudenosaunee, Anishinabek, Attiwonderonk and Mississauga Peoples, which was settled in the McKee Purchase Treaty of 1790. Members of these peoples and other nations continue to live in our St. Thomas and surrounding community, continuing their traditions and ways of life.
It's the start of a busy time of year. June 21st is also World Music Day, an opportunity to celebrate all genres, styles and forms of music worldwide. Each Saturday, the Horton Farmers' Market hosts a local artist for a morning of music to brighten everyone's day. So far this year, we have had the honour of hosting Nick Ewanick, Connie Furtney, Griffin Noriega, Muon Bluze and Adam Blair, with more great musicians to come all summer long!
Suppose you want to celebrate the Summer Solstice and World Music Day. There are a few opportunities this weekend to add to your agenda! This Friday, June 23rd, in honour of the Summer Solstice, Wildflowers Farm is hosting an after-dark summer solstice event! Featuring delicious food vendors from French cuisine to pulled pork, over 20 vendors and live music, this event running from 4pm to 10pm, is sure to impress! You can purchase tickets on the Wildflowers Farm website, with proceeds going towards a new MRI machine for the St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital.
The Columbus Club of St. Thomas is hosting SummerFest 2023 on the evenings of Friday, June 23rd and Saturday, June 24th; come out and see some great local musicians play live at The Back Alley Bar and Grill, with a vendors market and free acoustic performances Saturday afternoon! The event supports Hospice of Elgin, with tickets available at The Back Alley Bar and Grill, Columbus Club, Elford Automotive, or online! Come on out and support your favourite local artists and vendors for a good cause!
With many significant events and occasions to celebrate summer's start in the St. Thomas area, you will surely have a great summer kick-off with your friends and family!