Event is music to the ears of bridge advocates

Last updated on Aug 31, 23

Posted on Jun 23, 22

2 min read

The Fork in the Road Music Festival is happening for the fifth time this weekend, and this year proceeds will go toward making nature permanently accessible in Woolwich Township and Wellington County.

Two groups, Save Middlebrook Bridge and Green Lanes, are working together to form a new fund. The fund will be a way for citizens to pool their resources to buy and steward land, so that people can travel through and connect to nature in perpetuity. They’re calling it the ‘Make Nature Accessible Fund.’

This all started when the organizers of the festival, Nancy Harper and Brendon “Doog” Farquhar, approached the people running Save Middlebrook Bridge and Green Lanes to see if they wanted to be recipients of the proceeds, along with Save our Water, another advocacy group in Elora.

Since neither Green Lanes or Save Middlebrook Bridge are able to receive donations yet, organizers decided to work together to form this new fund.

“These are very early stages for the Making Nature Accessible Fund and we are currently liaising with Centre Wellington Community Foundation to hold the funds as we grow,” said Stephanie Lines-Toohill in an email to The Observer.

Lines-Toohill is a founder of the Save Middlebrook Bridge organization, a community group advocating to stop the dismantling of the bridge crossing the Grand River on Township Road 60, just off of Middlebrook Road.

Green Lanes is a community organization dedicated to increasing safe, green cycling infrastructure in Centre Wellington.

The Fork in the Road music festival is a mom and pop operation taking place on the property owned by Harper and Farquhar. “Green Lanes and Save Middlebrook Bridge are both run by friends of ours. And we like what they do, and we like what they stand for. And we just thought it would be fun to try,” said Harper.

Organizers of Save Middlebrook Bridge and Green Lanes saw the offer of support from Harper and Farquhar as an opportunity to start the process of acquiring land for the community, by the community: effectively a land trust.

The land trust will be used to purchase and steward land that can be used by citizens to connect to and travel through greenspaces and rivers, and save these spaces from future development.

Lines-Toohill says she believes local government is not prioritizing or acquiring more green space. “Therefore, as citizens, we have to do this,” she said. “We’d like people to think of our initiatives as collaborative investments in the health of our communities. Saving green spaces with access to nature for all citizens is an action of hope for today and for future generations.”

The Fork in the Road music festival will take place Saturday (June 25) from 4-11 p.m., with a bonfire to follow. This year’s lineup features The 99 Percents, The Shawn Connerys and Larry’s Myth.

The suggested donation amount to enter is $30, and barbecue food and drinks will also be available by donation.

“We’re hoping for several hundred. We’ve had several hundred down here in the past, so we’ll be happy if we get a good turnout,” said Harper.

Harper said she is looking forward to seeing friends new and old again, and hopes many people will come.

“Come on down. Let’s get together and we’ll have a good time and dance and have a few laughs.”

The pair is hosting the event at their rural property, 6460 Wellington Rd. 7, Elora.

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