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It’s time for the twines that bind

The mouse’s yearly appearance in Kleinburg is bound to be a great time.

The 42nd annual Kleinburg and Area Binder Twine Festival — represented by its logo of a mouse in a bundle of twine — is set to transport revellers to a simpler time on Sept. 6.

Though the festival is today a celebration featuring food and fun of all sorts, its roots lay in the agricultural ways of 19th century farmers.

“It all began in 1847 when John Kline, a Swiss watchmaker, built a mill on the Humber River and a community was born,” Binder Twine Committee chair Tim Arnott said in a statement.

“Kleinburg thrived because of its location — midway between Barrie and Toronto — an ideal spot for farmers to stay overnight on the way to market.”

The local economy grew, including Charlie Shaw’s hardware store, to service the agricultural needs of the area.

In the fall, farmers would buy the twine they needed from Shaw to bind their sheaves of wheat before mice could do too much damage. The annual trip to Kleinburg for twine became a festive occasion.

By 1931, the festival faded to a mere memory. But in 1967, a small group revived the tradition.

The volunteer-run fest has since grown into a large outdoor craft show and sale with food booths, entertainment, a kid’s area, an old tyme fashion show, a parade and old tyme fun — log sawing, watermelon seed spitting, stilt walking and the Shave-the-Farmer event.

Not to be overlooked is the Queen Contest, which pits “young” ladies against each other in competitions of hog calling, cow milking, pancake flipping and nail hammering.

Musical performers set to entertain festival-goers this year include Dave Hoy’s Honky Tonk Piano, York Region Pipes and Drums, and Canadian Country Music Hall of Famers The Good Brothers, among others.

Binder Twine festivities kick off Sept. 6 at 9 a.m. Admission is free for all in pioneer garb. For those dressed all 21st-century-like, entry is $7 for adults, $5 for youth and folks 60 and over, and $2 for kids 2–12. Parking is $2.

Vaughan Today
In print: August 29, 2008, page 14
Online: September 1, 2008 [link]