Commit to the roads less traveled this summer by judging a bee beard, building a champion sandcastle, or spending an evening with Elvis. Canada’s province of Ontario offers a variety of events throughout the summer, including some of the most unusual.  And you thought you’d seen it all!

July 21-24: Collingwood Elvis Festival, Collingwood, Ontario
Elvis wannabes are pretty thick on the ground at Las Vegas and, expectedly, around Memphis.  But in the resort town of Collingwood, Ontario? The event began in 1995, promoted by a tribute artist. It took off and has earned international recognition. The annual event includes such events as a street dance and a classic car parade. Of course, there are Elvis tribute shows, look-alikes and a major Elvis competition.

July 23: Clovermead Bee Beard Festival, Aylmer, Ontario
Bee beards have been around since the 1700s and up until a hundred years ago, honey vendors used them to attract customers. Now these organic disguises have their very own competition. Every year, the world’s bravest apiarists gather in Aylmer, Ontario for this “stinging” contest.  The object of the Bee Beard Competition is to get as many bees on your body as possible. Contenders are weighed before and after they are covered in bees, and the heaviest one wins.

July 30 – 31: Cobourg Sandcastle Festival, Cobourg, Ontario
Come see the magnificent sandcastle creations at the 6th Annual Cobourg Sandcastle Festival.  Express your inner artist by joining the competition!  A movie on the beach will be featured at dusk.

August 5 – 7: Kingston Sheepdog Trials, Kingston, Ontario
Generally recognized as the most intelligent dog breed, potential champions go for the brass ring in competitions entitled “Flyball & Agility” and “Birds of Prey”.  One of the most popular events is the sheep shearing demo.  Visitors can look forward to a variety of side attractions, such as a craft and artisans fair, spinning demonstrations, a Sheep to Shawl competition, dog training seminars, a children’s play area, pony rides, petting zoo and more

August 19 – 21: Leamington Tomato Festival, Leamington, Ontario
Tomatoes are the focus of a festival at Leamington, just across the border from Detroit (and, by a geographical quirk, actually south of the Motor City).  Leamington is known as the “Tomato Capital of the World” because this is where Heinz Ketchup was originally produced in 1909, and then shipped directly to the U.S.  And where else are you going to find the downtown tourist information booth housed in a giant tomato?

September 2 – 4: Hamilton Mustard Festival, Hamilton, Ontario
This festival celebrates the fact that 80 percent of the world’s dry mustard is milled in Hamilton, Ontario. The event showcases the history of mustard and its uses in cooking and for medicinal purposes. Some of the region’s best restaurants serve up great food, all with a zip of mustard

September 17 – 18: Bushplane Days, Sault Ste Marie, Ontario
All areas of aviation are represented including charter flights with Air Dale, the hugely popular CL-415 waterbombing demonstration, a search and rescue demo, and family fun activities including carnival games, face painting and train rides with the Algoma Model Engineers Society.