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Shelburne’s Whirligig and Weathervane Festival happening Sept. 15-16

The annual Whirligig Festival in Shelburne takes place Sept. 15 and 16.
The annual Whirligig Festival in Shelburne takes place Sept. 15 and 16. - Tina Comeau

SHELBURNE, N.S. – Shelburne’s historic waterfront will be transformed into a kaleidoscope of colour and motion for the 19th annual Whirligig & Weathervane Festival on Sept. 15 and 16.

More than $1,000 in prizes and 15 awards are up for grabs in 11 categories for whirligigs at this year’s festival, including People's Choice, Best of Show, Most Whimsical, First Time Entrant, Best Weathervane and a special prize for the whirligig best depicting the festival’s theme this year, Sea Monsters.



The ArtGigs Show and Sale will be back this year. Initiated last year by the organizing committee, blank whirligigs were given to local artists who painted them for show and sale at the festival. The artgigs are sold via a silent auction on site and on Facebook during the festival weekend, with all proceeds from the sale returned to the individual artists.

he first year was a success,” said festival spokesman Timothy Gillespie. “The artists were stunned. They had never been involved with anything where they get all the money.” This year, artists both local and from across the province have painted the artgigs. The event has also received sponsorship from Boxing Rock Brewing Co.


Whirligig building workshops, kite building and flying, the Shelburne Farmers’ Market, the Shelburne Rug Hookers Show, local food and craft vendors, and a community breakfast at the Sandy Point Lighthouse Community Centre on Saturday morning are among the other festival highlights.

People wanting to display their whirligigs can either just show up before 10 a.m. on Saturday or pre-register. “If people want to show their whirligigs, we’d love to have them,” said Gillespie, adding the committee never knows beforehand how many entries they will get. “It fluctuates year to year,” he said.

In the past, builders have come from Shelburne, Queens, Lunenburg, Yarmouth and Halifax counties and from Ohio, Philadelphia, British Columbia and Ontario. “With more than a dozen prizes in many categories and prizes surpassing $1,000, we expect a lot of great entries,” said committee member Willa Magee.

 The Whirligig Festival is an annual event in Shelburne.
The Whirligig Festival is an annual event in Shelburne.


Viewing starts at noon on Saturday and 11 a.m. on Sunday. The festival grows every year, with people from throughout the Maritimes and as far away as British Columbia attending the past two years.

"Given the growing popularity of the event over the years, we expect more than 1,000 visitors this year and they really come to see the great work produced by some very talented and inventive people," said Magee.

Whirligig makers can register in advance or at the festival. There is no registration fee. For more information on the festival or for a full schedule visit or call 1-902-656-2547.


Saturday, Sept. 15

8 to 11 a.m. Community Breakfast – Sandy Point Lighthouse (1586 Sandy Point Rd) Adults: $8 / Children: $4

9 a.m. to 12 noon, and 1 to 4 p.m. Whirligig building workshops at the Dory Shop Museum with expert Dory builder and wood crafter, Milford Buchanan. This workshop features a unique whirligig design created especially for the festival. Workshop fees include all building materials and instruction. $25 per person. Pre-register in person at the Dory Shop, by emailing or by calling 902-875-4003. Drop in participation based on availability. Maximum 12 participants per session.

9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Farmers Market – Guild Hall

9 a.m. to 4 p.m. ArtGigs Show and Sale. These whirligigs have been designed and painted by Nova Scotian artists. Gigs will be sold via silent auction on site and online.

9 a.m. to 12 noon Registration of entries begins – Dock Street

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Shelburne Rug Hookers Show – Longboat Shed behind Osprey Arts Centre

12 to 5 p.m. Viewing entries on the Historic Waterfront

2 to 4 p.m. Kite Building Workshop, ages 4-11, Shelburne Waterfront. Limited to 20 participants.

Sunday, Sept. 16

11 a.m. to 4 p.m. View of entries on the Historic Waterfront

9 a.m. to 4 p.m. ArtGigs Show and Sale

12 to1 p.m. Kite flying demonstration.

2 to 4 p.m. Children’s Whirligig building workshop. Ages 4-11 Dock Street. Free. Limited to 20 participants.

2 p.m. Judging of entries

4 p.m. Awards presentations under the Dock Street Tents

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