Canada Day events back under ‘FITS’ banner again
The “Fun in the Sun” committee once again is heading up the majority of Canada Day events here in Fort Frances.
Chairman Randy Thoms said Monday the committee is working with the Boundary Waters Dragon Boat Festival committee, Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce, the Town of Fort Frances, and others to put on the celebration.
Back at its May 14 meeting, council had passed a resolution stating Canada Day celebrations should continue under one committee and not various groups working on individual initiatives.
This was after council had received a Canada Day-related funding request from the “It’s EH Celebration” committee for $4,250 to pay for entertainment on June 29 and July 1.
The group came forward earlier this spring after Thoms announced “Fun in the Sun” would not be able to carry on without enough volunteers.
The town, meanwhile, already had budgeted a $5,000 grant for fireworks for the “Fun in the Sun” committee, and also made arrangements to ensure that committee’s activities would be covered under the town’s insurance policy.
“They [the town] rallied all of the troops together for a meeting,” noted Thoms. “As a result, the ‘Fun in the Sun’ committee, following that meeting, agreed to continue on as ‘Fun in the Sun.’
“They will be co-ordinating the Canada Day events, but events put on by other organizations that have stepped forward, including the Dragon Boat festival and the parade and any other events that do come forward, will fall under the ‘Fun in the Sun’ body,” he explained.
“As well, the town is going to be supporting ‘Fun in the Sun’ going forward,” Thoms added. “That’s the key thing—having that support from the town.
“I think it’s always been there, but I think now it’s now, ‘We had this meeting, and councillors and the mayor came out saying we support ‘Fun in the Sun.’
“I applaud them for their efforts and getting things back on track,” he lauded.
Thoms said having everything together also will help when it comes to advertising. For example, all activities can be listed together on a single schedule of events as opposed to several separate ads.
In related news, Sandra Allan of the “It’s EH Celebration” committee will not be involved in the “Fun in the Sun” activities.
She is, however, organizing a Canada Day social slated for Friday, June 29 at La Place Rendez-Vous.
It will run from 9 p.m.-1 a.m., and feature live music by Centre-Line.
Thoms said a list of all the volunteers and organizations Allan had been working with has been turned over to the Chamber, where summer student Sarah Hallikas is in the process of contacting them to see if they would like to continue on with “Fun in the Sun.”
In the meantime, the “Fun in the Sun” committee is looking for more funds to stage this year’s celebration.
The town has committed $5,000 for fireworks, and the committee has received a $6,500 “Celebrate Canada” grant, but the latter is only about half of what “Fun in the Sun” had been hoping for.
“That’s going to put a challenge into some of the things we can do for Canada Day,” Thoms admitted.
“But the group will continue on and hopefully stage a good show.”
In order to raise more funds, the committee is putting out coin boxes at area businesses this week and is asking local businesses for whatever support they can offer.
Thoms explained any donations will be put toward offsetting Canada Day expenses, as well as enhancing the fireworks display.
Canada Day activities currently include the Dragon Boat races, a volleyball tournament, parade, and fireworks. But Thoms said the Chamber is in the process of contacting various groups about putting on more events, especially kids’ activities.
He added he has been contacted by a group wanting to carry on with the bath tub races on Sand Bay, and there a few other irons in the fire.
Thoms said the event schedule should be finalized following a meeting next Thursday (June 14).
He also noted any groups interested in organizing activities can contact the Chamber at 274-5773.
Canada Day activities are being planned to coincide with the first-annual Dragon Boat festival, which is being organized here. The races will take place on the upper river from 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
To register a team, or to sign up individually, visit www.bwdbf.ca or stop by NCDS and pick up a registration form.
Meanwhile, the Chamber of Commerce will organize the parade.
It will run along Front Street once again, with one change this year being the 5 p.m. start time (so it will not conflict with the Dragon Boat races).
The Chamber is now accepting registrations for parade floats, with this year’s theme being Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.
As well, the Chamber is looking for volunteers to help with the parade. The town will supply barricades, but people are needed to man them.
There also will be an all-day volleyball tournament at Pither’s Point, which has proven very popular in recent years, with the fireworks display once again set to go off around 10 p.m.