Come out of your shell and head down to Tillsonburg for a turtley good time! Each June, Tillsonburg Turtlefest kicks into full swing with all kinds of events to kick your summer off right. The festival is always a great event to attend as it exemplifies the strong spirit of Tillsonburg and its sense of community. Come on down for the full weekend or enjoy one day of the festival. No matter what you choose, you won’t be sorry!
Tillsonburg Turtlefest started in 2011 based on a historic town legend. George Tillson, who founded Tillsonburg in 1825 is said to have made a promise to come back after his death as a turtle. Several years later, a large turtle was found near the Tillson home on the shore of Otter Creek. Townspeople believed that this was in fact George Tillson reincarnate and brought the turtle to the down town to show George how the town had grown since his death. Tillsonburg continues to prosper today and Turtlefest is a testament to George’s success.
The Friday night Block Party really shows the spirit of Tillsonburg as stores along Broadway open their doors. Businesses, community groups and volunteers all offer turtle themed games, menus, activities and more! It is a great chance to check out local businesses and get to know all the great groups that Tillsonburg has to offer. Why not take part in a giant human foosball tournament or have a swingin’ good time at the hula hoop contest?
The Saturday marks the main event for Turtlefest where turtle-themed events take place all over town. Each year thousands come out to enjoy an affordable day of fun for the entire family. At the fairgrounds, one can pay one price and have access to numerous activities including face painting, hot air balloon rides, bouncy castles and more! At Annandale NHS, children and adults can enjoy loads of free fun including games, crafts, historic walking tours, turtle tales and other fun stuff such as past year’s event with Nick Blandin of Happy Dragon Studios sculpting a turtle out of sand! Visit the Station Arts Centre and stroll the Tillsonburg Farmers Market or be in awe of the sweet creations made for the Turtley Treats Baking Contest. Besides these main hubs for turtle fun, there are still other locations to enjoy the day! You can plan your jam-packed day ahead of time by looking at all the events happening here.
All in all, Tillsonburg Turtlefest is always a great time for all. Whether you love action, art or both, you’re bound to get that and more from Tillsonburg Turlefest each June.
By: Gabrielle Bossy, Tourism Oxford