A mix of mostly warm and sunny weather, along with a slate of exciting activities, made for one of the best “Fun in the Sun” turnouts in several years, organizers said yesterday.
“I think that it was very successful overall,” committee member Dawn Booth remarked.
“I was shocked at the crowd that was out for the parade, and the amount of people who went to the Point afterwards,” she added. “There was something for everybody.”
Laurie Beadle, who also has been a FITS committee member for the past few years, agreed the combination of activities and people’s increased interest made for a successful summer event.
“It turned out really well. The weather really helped us out—I would say it was better than last year,” she said.
Beadle noted attractions like the professional water-ski show and the bathtub races saw good turnouts. “And I think the parade was great with the marching bands,” she noted.
And while the annual summer celebration may be over for another year, Beadle said she isn’t resting as an organizer.
“We’re gearing up for the centennial. The town’s going to get on board for ‘Fun in the Sun’ 2003 and help plan some events,” she remarked.
FITS kicked off June 24 with the queen entertainment night at the Townshend Theatre, which was won by Sarah Hebert.
Then people headed to the downtown area for the BIA’s “Mall Day” last Thursday. Besides sidewalk sales, barbecues, and other promotions, a giant inflatable slide and “bouncer” were available for the kids.
The six queen contestants made a splash with a dunk tank—as well as other fun and games—in the lot beside Pharmasave.
And despite having to re-locate the Teddy Bear Picnic to the Townshend Theatre at the last moment Friday due to a stand-off at the jail, that event was just as popular as ever.
“We had over 500 kids,” said head librarian Margaret Sedgwick. “We figured that was pretty good considering the circumstances.”
Besides children’s entertainer Jake Chenier, the picnic included cupcakes donated by parents and a variety of crafts with the queen contestants.
Other events that day included the Knox United Church pie and dessert sale (held at the KC Hall due to the jail standoff) and fish and chips at St. John’s Anglican Church.
This year’s FITS theme, “All Around the World,” was exemplified Saturday during “Culturama” at the Memorial Sports Centre (see related story elsewhere in this edition).
Earlier that day, the Legion had a pancake breakfast, then the popular Mini-Queen contest was held at the arena, which was won by Cassie Jackson.
The Calder Clan had a horseshoe tournament at Pither’s Point Park before a plaque commemorating the family—and the road named after them there—was unveiled.
Canada Day started off with a parade down Scott Street, featuring clowns, classic cars, “Friends of Animals” walking dogs, and the Chamber of Commerce giving out cupcakes.
Queen contestants April Matheson and Sarah Hebert won cash prizes for having best overall (Matheson’s take on the TV show, “Survivor”) and best theme float (Hebert’s “It’s a Small World”) during the parade.
The Emo Fair queen candidates won a prize for best Canada Day float.
All the fun then moved to Pither’s Point for every activity from Bingo to barbecues, water-skiers to kids’ games.
The day ended at 10:20 p.m. when fireworks lit up the sky over Seven Oaks.
“It went without a hitch,” said Charlie Turgeon, former deputy chief of the Fort Frances Fire Department, who explained any misconceptions by spectators about the late start.
“We normally say it’s going off at 10 p.m. but it just wasn’t dark enough. So we fired off a few shots to get the people’s attention,” he noted.
“We just didn’t want to send off our fireworks early when there was no ‘dark background,’” he stressed.
Turgeon added it’s likely the fireworks would be launched by Seven Oaks again next year.
“I find everybody this year had a bird’s-eye view along the waterfront,” he said, noting he didn’t launch the fireworks from the government dock this year due to the high water level on Rainy Lake.