Binder Twine Festival
The Binder Twine Festival, or usually Binder Twine, is an annual festival held the first Saturday after Labour Day in Kleinburg, Ontario, Canada. It is now one of the most popular festivals in southern Ontario, and marks the beginning of the harvest fair season in the Greater Toronto Area.
In the late 19th century, farmers would come to the community to acquire binder twine with which they could bind sheaves of wheat. Charlie Shaw, a resident and owner of a hardware store, offered food and entertainment to those farmers, establishing the Binder Twine Night festival which was held annually until his death in the 1930s.
The festival is organized and operated entirely by volunteers, which once included author Pierre Berton, a famous resident of the village. Binder Twine has become a successful community event, and has resulted in new town signage and the creation of Binder Twine Park.
There is a fee for admission except for those wearing pioneer period costumes, who are admitted for free.
The festival features the Binder Twine Parade, the Binder Twine Queen contest and a Quilt Raffle, along with craft sales and musical entertainment. The McMichael Canadian Art Collection sponsors art activities at the festival. It includes an arts and craft show, pioneer skills demonstration, and "old-fashioned" entertainment.
In 1979, a few months after the federal election which resulted in Joe Clark becoming Prime Minister of Canada, festival organizers announced a Joe Clark look-alike contest, requesting entries from individuals with "an oversized head, large ears and hardly much of a chin".
Binder Twine Queen
The Binder Twine Queen contest requires contestants to demonstrate their abilities in a set of activities such as cow milking, hog calling, and log sawing. Each year, one activity is kept secret until the day of the festival so contestant cannot practice for it. Contestants wear costumes and often have props, including live animals, and "shamelessly spoof the traditional beauty contest". It has sometimes been judged by well-known personalities, including Knowlton Nash and Ben Wicks.
Berton wrote an article in the Toronto Star in 1992 comparing the Binder Twine Queen contest with beauty pageants, stating that "while other queen contests are fading away under the disapproving frowns of feminists, the Binder Twine Queen contest has never been healthier or more popular".
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