The Inaugural Community Longtable, on June 26 2016 in Thornbury, was an event to be remembered. Despite the foreboding skies and the torrential downpour, the many people who stuck it out were immensely rewarded.
The event started at four pm. When we arrived at five, the event was already in full swing. The local restaurants and suppliers were serving a variety of delicacies and beverages at the booths surrounding the 220-person impressively set table.
Although there was no assigned seating, our group had taken a portion of the table for our use. However, there was an overwhelming feeling that everyone was in it together. While roaming through the various tents, eating and drinking all the deliciousness, I struck up interesting conversations with complete strangers whom were sharing in this unique experience.
This Community Longtable was not the first of its kind. Casey Thomson of The Cheese Gallery, inspired by a photo she saw, brought this event to Thornbury to support the launch of the Come To Our Table, South Georgian Bay Cookbook created by three innovative locals: Rheanna Kish (Recipe Developer), Heather Goldsworthy (Professional Photographer) and Scott Gloster (Designer). Sarah McNulty-Comrie, who organized the event along with many volunteers, took the rain in stride and executed flawlessly.
One of my favorite activities at events like this (such as Small Halls Festival and the Feast in the Forest), is grilling the chefs on the ingredients and methods involved in their creations. I always try to walk away with a new delectable trick or idea I can apply to my culinary creations at home. In this particular situation, we took home the cookbook we had pre-ordered.
Meanwhile, in the back drop, you could see the foreboding grey storm clouds quickly approaching. If you are familiar with Georgian Bay, these storm lines can be quite intense and there was a palpable anticipation of the storm to come. About 1 in 4 people had become weather experts analyzing the local weather radar trying to determine when it would arrive and for how long this maelstrom would last.
Some of the tents joined forces with those that did not have shelter, pooled resources and prepped for the arrival. It actually created team spirit with groups of people who didn’t know each other gathering under the various tents and collectively holding it down for fear the wind would blow it away. Everyone had their drinks full, easy access to their hors d’oeuvres and one hand on the tent. We were all in our Sunday best. Beautiful flowing dresses, khaki shorts and button-down short sleeve shirts of every summer colour you could imagine. Many of the women adorned pretty floral crowns they created themselves at the Sideroad Farm tent. Everyone looked fabulous!
When the squall line hit, the rain came in sideways. Everyone and everything got soaked. The collection of meteorologists had determined it would last about 20 minutes and, to our glee, they were right.
When the storm passed, we were able to get on with our drinking and eating. Everyone’s plates were overflowing with the various main course dishes and finally, we were all seated at the Longtable enjoying the live strolling musicians. Then the clouds parted and blessed us with the oh so elusive “Double Rainbow” – a majestic reward for our perseverance and patience. We had passed through this crucible together and came out the other side united and blessed with a glorious spectacle.
The location was the waterfront in the Thornbury Harbour. The harbour is exceptional. It is a boater’s dream come true with access to some of the most beautiful freshwater in the world. Thornbury, in the Town of The Blue Mountains, is located about 20 minutes west of Collingwood, Ontario. It is a 4-season resort area with access to wineries, apple orchards, and hiking trails; limitless activities such as skiing, snowshoeing, golfing, mountain biking, and boating; and an endless number of festivals and events such as this one.
As the event drew to a close, we were further rewarded with a glorious sunset atop the misty waters overlooking the pier towards Meaford. Needless to say, we can’t wait until next year.
This event would not have been possible without the following contributors.
Thornbury Clarksburg Rotary – http://www.tcrotary.ca/
The South Georgian Bay Community Cookbook Company – https://sgb.communitycookbook.ca/
To order your own copy of the cookbook online, click here.
- Free Spirit Gardens – http://freespiritgardens.org/
- BVO – http://www.bvo.ca/
- Thornbury Clarksburg Rotary – http://www.tcrotary.ca
- Black Angus Fine Meats & Game – http://www.blackangusmeat.com/
- The Corner Café & Grill – http://cornercafegrill.ca/
- The Cheese Gallery – http://thecheesegallery.ca/
- The Pottery Restaurant – https://www.bluemountain.ca/things-to-do/eateries-and-nightlife/the-pottery-restaurant
- The Barn Co-op – http://thebarncoop.ca/
- The Huron Club – http://www.thehuronclub.ca/
- T&K Ferri Orchards – http://tkferriorchards.com/
- Bruce Wine Bar – http://brucewinebar.ca/
- Azzurra Trattoria – http://www.azzurra.ca/
- Tesoro – http://www.tesororestaurant.ca/
- Northwinds Brewhouse & Eatery – http://northwindsbrewhouse.com/
- Men With Knives Catering – http://www.menwithknives.ca/
- Chef Patrick’s Gourmet Foods – http://www.chefpatrick.ca/
- Mad Maple Country Inn – http://madmaple.ca/
- Georgian Hills Vineyards – http://www.georgianhillsvineyards.ca/
- Coffin Ridge Boutique Winery – https://www.coffinridge.ca/
- Maclean’s Ales Inc. – http://macleansales.ca/
- Northwinds Brewhouse & Eatery – http://northwindsbrewhouse.com/our-beer/
- Side Launch Brewing Company – http://sidelaunchbrewing.com/
- Creemore Springs Brewery – http://www.creemoresprings.com/
- Thornbury Cider – http://thornburycider.ca/
- Duxbury Cider Co. – http://www.theduxburyciderco.ca/
- Meredith’s Ginger Syrup – http://www.meredithsgingersyrup.com/
- Sapsucker – http://sapsucker.ca/