St. Albert's Curd Festival - Not every adventure has to be a big epic thing. Much of the time in our travels, both locally in Ontario and while on the go across Canada, we look around for something cool and make an adventure out of it. The cow's of the St. Albert's Curd Festival are a great example!
I was on my way to pick up my four girls from Embrun Ontario and remembered that other times I'd been there, the car dealership and the bank had colourful cows placed out front. I got to thinking...are there more of these in other places?!
As Adam drove, I started to do an internet search to see what these cows were all about. I came across the website for the St. Albert's Curd Festival and found some very exciting information - not only was there a fun name for this cow-themed art installation - Hey Cow, I See You Now! - there were more of these whimsical works of art all over small towns and countryside within reach of St. Albert!! I had absolutely just found our next adventure; we were in for a complete afternoon of...ART COWS!
The Hey Cow, I See You Now! exhibit may not exist at all if it weren't for a global pandemic. Like many businesses and organizations, the St. Albert's Curd Festival, had to pivot due to the pandemic. The festival, which would normally run during the summer, had to be cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions put in place. So, instead of their normal suite of festivities, this glorious art tour of colourful cows emerged. Cows were placed in the areas surrounding the festival's usual home, St. Albert, and a website with a map of cow locations was added to the festival website.
Armed with our Google map and way too much enthusiasm, we headed to the cow locations within Embrun and then off into the surrounding countryside. Although we had our google map, the locations were sometimes not precise, so we kept our eyes peeled for these delightfully weird sculptures and Adam was occasionally met with a chorus of children yelling, "Cow! COW!", alerting him to pull off for our next strange selfie opportunity!
Of course, because we homeschool and it was the middle of the school day, we weren't going to get away with just driving along looking at cool cows for half of our school day - we had to make it educational! Luckily, the St. Albert's Curd Festival website also came complete with profiles for each artist, allowing us to learn about the creative force behind the painting at each stop!
The Curd Festival website has a handy map of the 30km circuit that leads you to ever cow placed outside of farms and businesses in the area. While we started in Embrun because that's where we were, there is no defined starting point, so you can absolutely just meander freely through the area and see cows in whatever order makes sense. We, of course, aimed to end in St. Alberts at the St. Albert's Cheese Factory, because what is a cow tour without a picnic of delicious curds at the end?!
After many, many creative cows, we made our way to the St. Albert's Cheese Factory, home of the delicious cheese curds famous throughout the grocery stores and gas stations of Ontario. While the factory would normally offer tours, ice-cream, a restaurant, and their retail store, only the store remained available because of pandemic restrictions. But what a store it was! Cheese products, snacks, candy, cold drinks, fancy hot chocolate products - definitely something for everyone! We picked out some fancy lemonade, an assortment of candies to try, some colour-changing hot chocolate for home, and (of course) several bags of mouth-watering curds.
The festival organizers took the need to pivot and turned St. Albert's Curd Festival in Ontario Canada into an awesome social media campaign. As you follow the 30km cow circuit, you can upload photos to social media using the hashtag #HeyCowISeeYouNow. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are now packed with photos of tourists and locals posed with these fantastical beasts.
Because of the public's enthusiasm for the Hey, Cow, I See You Now! exhibit, festival organizers have added even more cows for the 2021 season! So, even if you've already driven the cow circuit before, you'll be met with brand-new surprises. It looks like we have some more adventuring to do!
Art Cows! Great Story Sarah Stewart . Sonya Richmond Janel Coe Andrea Horning Cary Horning Megan Kopp Samantha Sewell Melanie Adair
Art Cows from Sarah Stewart . Melanie Adair Sonya Richmond Janel Coe Cary Horning Megan Kopp Samantha Sewell