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Plenty of activities on tap as Shelburne Founders' Days celebrates 35th anniversary July 20-22

Historic Dock Street on Shelburne's waterfront. TINA COMEAU PHOTO
Historic Dock Street on Shelburne's waterfront. TINA COMEAU PHOTO - Tina Comeau

SHELBURNE, N.S. – There will be no shortage of things to do and see at this year’s Shelburne Founders’ Days, to be held July 20 to 22 along the Shelburne waterfront on historic Dock Street.

New to the festivities this year is the Little Miss Founders Days Pageant on July 21 at the Guild Hall from 2 to 4 p.m. This activity is hosted by the Shelburne Lions Club. Girls ranging in age from seven to nine will participate in the pageant.

“We are really excited about the Little Miss Pageant,” said Shelburne event co-ordinator Robin Walker, one of the organizers for Founders’ Days. “It’s our first year of doing it and it should bring a lot of people.” He said it is always a popular event at the Shelburne County Exhibition.

For a complete Shelburne Founders' Days schedule visit

Walker said there will be a lot of music this year, including, for the first time, the Yarmouth Shantyman, scheduled to perform Sunday, July 22 at 2 p.m. Jamie Cotter, the Ragged Island Roosters, Matt Bone, Port Roseway Strutters (Manitoba Hal and Jay Pilzer), The Poorboys; Cutthroat Bubba & Friends, One Meter Up and Jessica Jürgenliemk are among the other performers who will take the stage at the Guild Hall during the festival.

Also on the music front is Brian Nickerson’s Karaoke Show from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Guild Hall on July 20, followed by the first round of Shelburne’s Got Talent from 6 to 8 p.m. The finalists advance to Saturday night’s finale, scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. The stage at the Osprey Arts Centre will be the scene for the Youth Drama Camp Performance at 2 p.m. on July 21. Tickets are available at the door, $10 for adults and $5 for students.

For the kids, there will be face painting, bouncy houses, crafts and games at the Shelburne Museums By the Sea complex throughout the weekend, and the Amazing Mr. J’s Magic Show on July 20 from 2 to 3 p.m. at the Guild Hall.

The Ross Thompson House and Museum in Shelburne. TINA COMEAU PHOTO
The Ross Thompson House and Museum in Shelburne. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

For those a little older, the Shelburne Museums By the Sea complex will be staging heritage demonstrations with costumed interpreters at the 18th Century Life Ross-Thomson House and Store, Charlotte Lane, offering guided Historic Waterfront Walking Tours with museum staff and whirligig painting for ages eight and older.

For the athletically inclined, Sou’Wester Athletics is hosting a CrossFit Fun Run July 21, beginning at 173 Mowatt St. Warm-up starts at 8:45 a.m. and the fun run at 9 a.m. Register online at Sou’Wester Athletics Facebook page.

The ever-popular washer toss tournament is scheduled for July 21 starting at 11 a.m. in the Bill Norman Park. No pre-registration is necessary.

And for those who like to live on the edge, the lobster crate races are back this year, after getting rave reviews last year. “They were a big hit last year,” said Walker. Hosted by the Municipality of the District of Shelburne, registration for the crate races begins at 4 p.m. at the town dock, with competition starting at 4:30 p.m.

Other Founders’ Days highlights include a vendor’s market, pirates, Shelburne Longboat row and rides, the 18th Century Loyalist encampment, the interactive Aboriginal Village, fireworks over Shelburne harbour (July 20, 10 p.m.), breakfast at the Sandy Point Lighthouse starting at 8 a.m. on July 21, and the Parade of Lights on July 21 at 10 p.m.

Fireworks lit up the sky during the 2017 Founders' Days. AMY WOOLVETT PHOTO
Fireworks lit up the sky during the 2017 Founders' Days. AMY WOOLVETT PHOTO

The Shelburne Guild Hall. TINA COMEAU PHOTO
The Shelburne Guild Hall. TINA COMEAU PHOTO


• 1-2 p.m.: Port Roseway Strutters (blues)• Noon – 1 pm: Matt Bone ​(country/rock mix)

• 3-4 p.m.: Ragged Island Rosters (mix of roots and blues on the piano and drums)

• 8-9 p.m.: The Poorboys (originals and covers)


• 1-2 p.m.: Cutthroat Bubba and Friends (sea shanties)

• 4:15-5:15 p.m.: Jessica Jurgenliemk

• 8-9:30 p.m.: One Meter Up


•12:30-2 p.m.: Jamie Cotter (Gospel stylings)

• 2 p.m.: The Yarmouth Shantymen (traditional songs of the sea)


Years before visits by the Spanish, French and Portuguese fishermen, the native Mi’kmaq traversed the Roseway River and used the surrounding land for summer encampments. 

In 1783, more than 10,000 settlers loyal to the British crown arrived in Shelburne (then Port Roseway) after fleeing the disastrous consequences of the American Revolutionary War.

These Loyalists helped to lay out and build the town and made the settlement one of the largest communities in North America.

The Black Loyalists were allotted land in what became Birchtown, on the northwest arm of Shelburne Harbour, forming the first largest freed Black settlement in North America.

The area was also settled by Scottish and Irish immigrants. In June, 1818, Welsh settlers arrived and formed the first Welsh settlement in Canada, in a community on the Roseway River called New Cambria, later named Welshtown.

Founders’ Days is a yearly reminder that we are richer by celebrating the courage, fortitude, ambition, dignity and accomplishments of our forefathers.

(Shelburne Founders' Days website)

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