EscarpAction Jessup’s Falls is a non-profit community association whose mission is to raise awareness of the sensitive ecosystem surrounding the Jessup’s Falls escarpment and promote local, sustainable businesses.
The Jessup’s Falls festival is EscarpAction’s opportunity to showcase local businesses, artists and artisans while introducing the public to the fascinating nature and history of the region, all while enjoying local fare.
The 2018 festival turned out to be a fabulous event! The day dawned very bright and continued sunny all day and even though the temperature went up to over 30 degrees, the breeze from the river and the beautiful willow trees kept us cool and festive.
There were a total of twenty two booths and a zoo! Ten local businesses participated with booths selling products and services. Three area authors discussed their books. eleven artists displayed their art in our gallery in the park and five non-profit organizations raised awareness of their causes.
Add to that activities for kids and adults: fascinating talks, a tour of the park, paintings, games and you have a fun-filled day at the park. Topping it off was the draw for a plane ride over our region won by a lucky resident from Plantagenet.
Organizing the day
The Festival is EscarpAction’s annual community outreach event, organized and hosted by our all-volunteer members and supporters. Those who dropped in early at the EscarpAction booth were pleasantly surprised that they could get a free birdhouse with their membership! And even after the birdhouses ran out, membership still had its privileges: 10% discount on tickets for the October Wine, Cheese and Beer and an EscarpAction swag and a voice at our Annual General Meeting.
Our booth provided information on karst, the fascinating rock formation present at Jessup’s Falls that puts our groundwater at such high risk of contamination. We also promoted local businesses that could not make it for the day by displaying and distributing their brochures and business cards.
We were thrilled to see the community come together for this special event.
A big THANK YOU! to our generous sponsors and enthusiastic volunteers:
A South Nation Conservation grant helped us bring in our headliner Michel Prévost for a captivating talk about our region’s history to a standing-room only crowd. Their grounds crew also did a great job preparing the site.
La Binerie donated beans and coleslaw to round out our hot dogs and sausages with vegetarian options. Mariposa Farm donated their delicious pork sausages and Trillium Farms gave us a generous break on their wild boar and deer sausages. Healthy Kids gave us the fresh fruit we ran around sharing (nothing like watermelon on a hot day!).
Participating businesses not only gave of their time, but many also handed out freebies! Faces to Paint gave attendees a little more colour with body paint. Papanack Zoo shared their love of animals and reptiles (that was one biiig snake!) and handed out free passes to their permanent zoo to children.
We also could not have done it without the invaluable help of our volunteers. Our friends Jon and Lisa who were there bright and early to set up tents and direct traffic. Elmer, who greeted visitors and sold tickets for a flight around the region. Lynne and Claude who kept the barbecue going in the tremendous heat of the day along with a couple of farm vacationers! Danielle who ran the karst toss, a fun game explaining the vulnerability rivers surrounded by water soluble limestone and Therese who helped kids get creative.
Local Businesses Participate
Sharing our vision of a sustainable future, many local businesses use all naturally-sourced local materials for their hand-made creations:
- Koiano soaps are hand-made entirely of natural local ingredients
- Buzzz honey lotions are all natural from their own bees and other locally-sourced, organic ingredients
- Propa-pit recycles propane tanks into firepits with beautifully hand cut designs
- Mocassins PeladeM displayed their gorgeous mocassins, jewelry and other leather goods all made by hand
- Barbarie & Sons brought out this year’s maple syrup from just up the road in Treadwell
Other local businesses increased their exposure with professional looking booths, demonstrations and smiles:
- Physio Plantagenet gave out gel packs that would have been great cooled on a hot day.
- First Impression Weddings, a custom stationary business, displayed beautiful options for weddings and parties.
- Équipements MBrisson is a new hardware parts supply venture in L’Orignal looking forward to a succesful future in our region.
Demonstrations took place throughout the day
- Mocassin PeladeM demonstrated their mocassin making technique
- Wood carver Francois Gour had a beautiful carving on the go and explained tree care
- Basket maker Nathalie Kin demonstrated basket and hat(!) weaving using locally-sourced fibres
Many local organizations also have the best interests of our environment at heart. They had displays and informed us on the the sensitive balance of nature – water, trees, and the animals that they sustain.
- Boisés Est members Joanne Drouin and Pierre Soucy brought the curious on a walking tour of the trees of the park. They spotted a whopping 22 species of trees, 6 types of shrubs, and 15 undergrowth plants, all without leaving the trail! Francois Gour sold seedlings and explained how to identify them by their leaves. Hard to find a more knowledgeable crew!
- The Ottawa Riverkeeper booth displayed the importance of caring properly for our waterways that we and our water-loving friends (like the eel) all need to survive.
- South Nation Conservation had great tips on caring for turtles that you may find on the roads. A bit of good advice: don’t pick them up by the shell!
There is talent in our region !
Artists were on hand to discuss art, paint on-site and display their beautiful art in our gallery tent:
- Painter and sculptor Tamaya Garner and our art-loving volunteer Lavada Pinder greeted visitors Photographer Leeça St-Aubin displayer her photographs which captured the colours of Nova Scotia
- Barnyard Studio’s Lynne Rollin and Nadine Lamoureux displayed photographs including one with a particular interesting technique of print on steel.
- Watercolourist Jeanne Doucet and painters Hélène Martin, Gilberte Gagné and Suzanne Bohay provided a window on the landscapes of our region.
- Polymer clay artist Line Labrecque’s displayed eye-catching 3D art
- Michel Côté, wood sculptor and philanthropist, displayed sculptures and talked of his time in Haiti, teaching sculpting techniques.
- And we were treated to on-site painting by artist Léola Meagher.
We were also fortunate to have with us several talented local writers:
- Liliane Gratton has written many historical romances with our region as the backdrop and local artists front and center on the covers!
- Retired school teacher Colette St-Denis turned to writing to preserve franco-ontarian culture and help children.
- Christine Delorme, author of Forces des Femmes, Force du Monde, seeks to give women a voice and the means to reclaim their power.
Visitors of all ages had plenty to do during the day:
- The talk on the history of the region has every hand cut bench (by Ferme Delju) filled.
- A variety of games greeted the children as they entered the parc: a fishing game where snapping a magnetic fish won them a prize, a painting wall that we hope to display at our fall event and a karst toss game where the goal was NOT to get your ball back so you don’t polllute the river!
- Papanack provided photo opportunities with some of their cute animals.
- And you could put yourself into the landscape with large trillium paintings, a flower that in the spring carpets the park in dazzling white and deep red.
Lunch is served!
The irresistible aroma of hot dogs and sausages slowly grilling on the barbecue had people lining up:
- Local producers offered us a great deal on hot dogs and sausages including deer and wild boar sausages from Trillium Meadows, beef sausages from L’Orginal Packing and pork sausages donated by Mariposa Farm and grilled up by our volunteers Claude and Lynne with help from farm vacationers!
- We did not want to leave anyone out! So La Binerie de Plantagenet donated beans and coleslaw for those wishing a lighter fare or a vegetarian option.
- Next door neighbour and baker extraordinaire Catstone Farm sold out of breads, muffins, and generally yummy fare. We even had someone boat across the river to pick up some of Catstone farm’s fabulous bread. Full disclosure: my favourite is the cranberry bread.
We are delighted with the success of this year’s Festival in the Jessup’s Falls park. We couldn’t have done it without our dedicated volunteers and EscarpAction members. Thanks again to our community at large for coming out to see what’s so special about Jessup’s Falls and for helping us to protect it for years to come. Can’t wait to see you all again in 2019!