Miles of smiles
Johnny Miles Festival in full swing in Sydney Mines with fun events for all ages.
The 13th annual Johnny Miles Festival is in full swing with events for all ages.
“Things were sliding a bit, so we really ramped up the festival this year,” said Eugene Ramsey, with the Johnny Miles Festival Society.
Ramsey said community feedback over the last few years indicated change was needed.
“We really spiced up Family Day. They wanted more food available, so we decided to fire up the barbecues. We’ve added new events, much better prizes and amped up the signature events,” he said. “People will just have to come down to the festival and see for themselves. We have new people, new ideas, and it shows in our events.”
This year the organizing committee mixed it up with some new, exciting games for children of all ages.
Fellow organizer Rose MacDonald added that youngsters should be delighted with the ad- ditions to Kidsfest.
“There are new games for Kidsfest and we know the youngsters will be delighted. Games like Blinko and chuck-aball that take some concentration, but are exciting and fun.”
The focus has always been to recognize and honour Sydney Mines hometown hero, Johnny Miles.
“Without him we wouldn’t have a festival,” Ramsey said. “The Johnny Miles 5k Road Race is getting bigger the last few years.”
Registration for the road race is Saturday at 9 a.m. at the John J. Nugent Firemen’s Centre, Elliott Street. The race begins at 10 a.m. with a reception to follow with refreshments and award presentations.
Miles earned his way into the record books with his surprising win at the Boston Marathon in 1926, the first of two titles for the Sydney Mines native.
According to historians, the field at the 1926 Boston Marathon included four-time winner Clarence DeMar and 1924 Olympic champion Albin Stenroos, whom Miles idolized.
Miles arrived at the marathon as an unknown, competing in a handmade singlet adorned with a maple leaf and the letters “NS” for Nova Scotia and a pair of 98cent sneakers.
In 1982, he was made a member of the Order of Canada. He was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame.
“Most of the events take place at the Pitt Street complex, but there are some exceptions. For location and time of events you can pick up a brochure at most businesses,” MacDonald said. “This festival is for the commu- nity and we appreciate the support we receive each year.”
Rose MacDonald, left, and Eugene Ramsey, members of the Johnny Miles Festival Society, invite everyone to visit Sydney Mines and take part in the 13th annual Johnny Miles Festival which continues until Sunday.