Jeff Green | Aug 14, 2008
Feature Article - August 14, 2008
Back toHomeFeature Article - August 14, 2008 Lucky 13 for the Verona FestivalBy Julie Druker
The Red Green Cardboard Duct Tape Boat race is always a crowd pleaser.
The 13th Annual Verona Festival went off without a hitch despite a wet weather forecast. Thankfully the rain held off for most of the weekend and the festival was very well attended.
Festival Manager Wayne Conway was thrilled with the success of the Verona Community Association’s largest single annual event of the year and admits, “We (the committee) were a little nervous about the weather but it held out for us and amazingly, not a single event was cancelled.”
The festival, a mix of musical entertainment, shows and demonstrations, arts and crafts and activities for kids and adults, has continued to grow and gain in popularity with every successive year.
The theme of “Pirates of the Frontenacs” was adopted by this year’s festival organizers and manifested itself in events like “Walk the Plank”, The Pirate Treasure Air Bounce, and face painting.
Festival volunteers and participants similarly adapted the theme in their costumes, parade floats and decorations and in the various creations they made for specific festival events.
On Friday evening the parade was a real show stopper partly due to the record number of entries and to the incorporation of the pirate theme. Town Crier Paddy O’Connor announced the commencement of the parade and bagpipers led the procession down Road 38. Headless Horseman Don Bates, with the help of volunteers from the OPP, managed the traffic at the south and north ends of town and kept waiting drivers entertained.
Post parade, the festival grounds at McMullen Park filled up quickly. Magician Rob Driscoll, a new entry in the stage line-up this year entertained kids and adults alike with his caustic humour and magic tricks.
Kids are always a priority at the festival, and as usual, were given lots of activities to choose from including, mini golf, the petting zoo, the Maze, and the Bouncing castle.
Local band “Printers Alley” took over the stage on Friday night and kept country music fans dancing until 11:00 pm. In between shows, the crowds strolled McMullen Park, snacked at Cameron’s Canteen and shopped at the arts and crafts market place.
On Saturday, roughly 250 spectators lined the beach and bleachers at McMullen Beach Park for the Red Green Cardboard and Duct Tape Boat Races, a favorite event for kids and adults alike.
Pirate and race organizer John McDougall was impressed by the number of entries this year.
Each team was provided with one large cardboard fridge box, cutters and a single roll of duct tape, and was given roughly one hour to design and build a lake-worthy vessel that they then paddled through an obstacle course.
Competitors Keegan Turner-Wood and Simon Lee built and entered their boat ‘Gork and Mork #4’ and stated, “This is the reason that we come to the cottage every year“.
Emily Evans and Katie Packman, who have participated in the event for the past 5 consecutive summers, captained “Sinking Feeling #5-Down the Drain”. It may have been their final entry since the two teenagers will be heading off to university this year.
A steady stream of entertainers played in the park throughout the day, including Liza Carew, the Celtic Ceilia Band, Telephoto and Swing Time. Saturday night on stage as usual was reserved for fans of Rock and Roll, with bands Mr. Excuses and the ever-popular Bauder Road.
On Sunday, the crowds continued to arrive for the dog show and the antique car show was a popular event, with almost 100 cars participating. On stage, favorite local groups, Marcatos, Crimson River and fiddle player Kelli Trottier kept the crowd’s toes a-tapping all afternoon long.
Festival Manager Wayne Conway‘s biggest challenge was to ensure that every single aspect of the festival was carried out safely. This year he was “impressed by the committee as a whole and the ability of each individual event manager to take their own responsibilities to heart and to fix any problems that arose.”
Sunday night, once the festival wound down, committee members gathered for their regular post show celebration and de-briefing.
Wayne and other committee members were “pleased to see so many younger committee members now volunteering as adults. It’s great to see the younger generation stepping in and taking over.”
The Verona Festival has become the success that it is largely due to its team of over 140 committed volunteers, and the support garnered from many community businesses and individuals. Wayne encourages anyone interested in volunteering to attend the festival’s first potluck meeting in February which will kick-start the planning for Festival #14.