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Turtles, toads and tadpoles galore at the Verona Cattail Festivalby Julie Druker
Photo: Young turtles, toads, tadpoles were front and center at this year Verona Cattail Festival parade.
Green was the colour of the day at this year’s Verona Cattail Festival and kids dressed as various pond dwelling creatures were front and center at Saturday's parade. The festival, which relocated last year to the Verona Lions Centre, had activities for the whole family and as usual a stellar line up of musical entertainment.
New to the festival this year was an environmental display in the Lions hall, aptly renamed Cameron's Cattail Centre. It housed representatives from numerous groups and organizations promoting local environmental awareness and health. Hands-on educational displays were set up inside, with reps from the Toronto Zoo promoting frogs; from the Ontario Geological Survey highlighting local geography and minerals; from the Gould Lake Conservation Area displaying an array of live pond creatures; as well as reps from Frontenac Provincial Park, and the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority.
Gerrie Baker, a.k.a. "The Worm Lady", was also on site promoting her worms and composting, as was salamander conservationist Matt Ellerbeck with his display of four live salamanders. Wilma Kenny demonstrated how to make cattail visors and hats and was also promoting the book “Cattails and Bulrushes-Wetland Neighbours”, which was written and illustrated by Dionne Nolan and gives a detailed explanation of the plant and its many uses.
There was a plethora of hands-on activities to take part in around the grounds, great food and a stellar line up of musical entertainment to enjoy on the stage all weekend long.
Debbie Lingen and Dick Miller were joint emcees and they held down the stage area at the Lions site, keeping visitors informed of the ongoing events. A shuttle bus ran every half hour transporting visitors from the Lions Centre hub to the beach, where other popular events took place over the weekend. As always the duct tape boat races held at McMullen beach on Saturday afternoon were a huge draw and not surprisingly the Olympic theme was front and center for the boat builders of all ages. Wayne Conway, who co-managed the festival year along with Ron Bruyns, said the steering committee took on added responsibilities this year, which made for a broader and better organized festival. Also new this year were 50 birdhouses donated by RONA for kids to build, and the motor bike and boot and bonnet displays, which drew a steady crowd. Back by popular demand were the horse drawn wagon rides. Though rain forced the entertainment to go inside the Lions hall on Friday night, the festival enjoyed clear skies for Saturday and Sunday. Hats off to all of the organizers and volunteers who made the weekend a memorable one for all who attended.