Things are not getting off to a very good start.
Sure, the big day is still 22 months away, but if the lack of entries so far (read none) in the centennial logo/slogan contest is any indication, getting townspeople fired up about Fort Frances’ 100th birthday bash in 2003 may prove to be an uphill battle.
Museum curator Pam Hawley has been doing a great job (as usual) trying to drum up interest in our town’s history, but one has to wonder if it’s all in vain. The first genealogical open house last month, aimed at stoking some excitement over the coming centennial, attracted a few people, but even fewer came to the second one—and nobody turned out for the third.
Yes, Saturday’s cemetery transcribing drew a good turnout of willing volunteers. And the town’s centennial committee already has been hard at work, urging residents to submit stories/photos for a community scrapbook and hiring former resident Neil McQuarrie (author of “On the Allan Cup Trail”) to pen the town’s history
But with the 100-week countdown now underway, and the entry deadline for the logo/slogan contest being next Tuesday, is anybody taking heed? More importantly, does anybody care?
A town’s character, and identity, often is rooted firmly in its past. As such, centennial celebrations offer a chance to salute those who came before us—and should be a source of great community pride.
The key, though, is that community pride cannot be passed down from a committee to the people. It has to be the other way around. It has to start with us.
Fort Frances deserves a centennial worthy of its proud and interesting history. But it’s going to take a lot of work, and involvement, to pull it off.
And that’s got to start now.