Vol­un­teers make the fes­ti­val world go round

South Shore Breaker - - PAGE TWO - VER­NON OICKLE THE VIEW FROM HERE ver­non.l.oickle@east­link.ca

With sum­mer now upon us, the fes­ti­val sea­son here on the South Shore is in full swing.

The re­gion serves up a long and eclec­tic menu of fes­ti­vals based on a va­ri­ety of themes that range from pro­mot­ing the area’s her­itage and tra­di­tional in­dus­tries, to tap­ing into the prov­ince’s ever grow­ing food and bev­er­age scene, to those that take ad­van­tage of the re­gion’s nat­u­ral beauty and pris­tine en­vi­ron­ment.

The themes are only as lim­ited as one’s imag­i­na­tions. Just take a look at the fes­ti­vals that will be held on the South Shore in the com­ing months:

July 4-16: Peggy’s Cove Area Fes­ti­val of the Arts, Peggy’s Cove

July 14-15: Lunen­burg Food and Craft Fes­ti­val, Lunen­burg

July 14-15: Black Loy­al­ist Her­itage Cen­tre, Jour­ney Back To Birch­town, Birch­town

July 20-22: Shel­burne Founders’ Days, Shel­burne

July 21-22: Nova Sco­tia Marathon, Barrington

July 24-29: South Shore Exhibition, Bridge­wa­ter

July 28: Har­mony Bazaar, Fes­ti­val of Women & Song, Lock­e­port

Aug. 3-5: Shag Har­bour UFO Con­fer­ence, Barrington

Aug. 9-12: Lunen­burg Folk Har­bour Fes­ti­val, Lunen­burg

Aug. 10-12: Lock­e­port Sea Derby, Lock­e­port

Aug. 7-11: Shel­burne County Exhibition, Shel­burne

Aug. 11: Cape Days, Cape Sable Is­land

Aug. 15-18: Ch­ester Race Week, Ch­ester

Aug. 16-19: Barrington Mu­nic­i­pal Exhibition, Barrington

Aug. 16-19: Hank Snow Trib­ute, Liver­pool

Aug. 17-19: Shel­burne Kayak Fes­ti­val, Shel­burne

Aug. 25-26: Cana­dian Na­tional Axe Throw­ing Cham­pi­onships, Liver­pool

Aug. 24-26: East Coast Al­ba­core Cham­pi­onships, Shel­burne

Sept. 15-16: Whirligig and Weather­vane Fes­ti­val, Shel­burne

Sept. 18-22: Queens County Fair, Cale­do­nia

Sept. 28-30: Ma­hone Bay Scare­crow Fes­ti­val, Ma­hone

Bay

Oct. 1-5: Lockie the Lob­ster Knit­ting Fes­ti­val, Lock­port

Oct. 18-21: Liver­pool In­ter­na­tional Theatre Fes­ti­val, Liver­pool

Nov. 17: South Shore Christ­mas Crawl

Feb. 1-18: South Shore Lob­ster Crawl

While that is def­i­nitely not a com­plete in­ven­tory of all the ex­cit­ing events that will be held in the re­gions over the next six months (and even into 2019), you have to ad­mit, it is an im­pres­sive list. Fur­ther­more, the list does not in­clude events that have al­ready been held this year, such as the in­au­gu­ral South Shore Lob­ster Crawl held in Fe­bru­ary, Shel­burne County Lob­ster Fes­ti­val in early June and Liver­pool Pri­va­teer Days held dur­ing the last week­end of June.

Th­ese fes­ti­vals are not only an in­te­gral com­po­nent of the South Shore Tourism in­dus­try through which thou­sands of dol­lars are in­jected into the lo­cal econ­omy, th­ese events also build pride and en­thu­si­asm both within and for our com­mu­ni­ties. They also pro­mote our com­mu­ni­ties out­side our re­gion and, in some cases, around the world.

Fes­ti­vals be­come a ral­ly­ing point within the com­mu­nity, around which we can fo­cus all our pos­i­tive en­ergy to help or­ga­nize the events and also to par­tic­i­pate in them and en­joy the fun, food, fel­low­ship and all the fri­vol­ity as­so­ci­ated with th­ese sum­mer­time ac­tiv­i­ties. Is there any­thing bet­ter than that? I think not.

But th­ese fes­ti­vals don’t hap­pen by magic. They are not a gov­ern­ment-man­dated or funded ac­tiv­ity. Th­ese events don’t just spring up out of the ground or pop into ex­is­tence from mid-air. No, in­deed, they do not.

Th­ese events are the re­sults of count­less hours of plan­ning, or­ga­niz­ing, fundrais­ing and plot­ting by an army of vol­un­teers who share a com­mon vi­sion of bring­ing peo­ple to­gether for a few days of cel­e­bra­tion.

I was re­minded of this fact a few week­ends ago as I en­joyed Pri­va­teer Days, the sum­mer’s flag­ship event in Liver­pool and one of the re­gion’s first ma­jor fes­ti­vals. While strolling through the park, tak­ing in all the ex­cite­ment and ob­serv­ing the many vis­i­tors and lo­cals tak­ing part in the three days’ worth of events, I thought of all the plan­ning and or­ga­niz­ing that went into ex­e­cut­ing the fes­ti­val.

It’s stag­ger­ing, re­ally, to think of all the peo­ple re­quired to make th­ese events hap­pen. And while im­pres­sive, I am aware that this phe­nom­e­non is not unique to Liver­pool or to Pri­va­teer Days. I will re­mind you of the list I pre­sented ear­lier in this col­umn. It proves my point.

In truth, ev­ery fes­ti­val, whether it is a one-day fair, a three-day event or a week­long marathon re­quires the hard work, ded­i­ca­tion, en­thu­si­asm, en­ergy, skills and com­mit­ment of vol­un­teers. Re­al­is­ti­cally, there is just no way that any of th­ese events would ever hap­pen with­out vol­un­teers as no level of gov­ern­ment or any busi­ness could pro­vide the nec­es­sary funds re­quired to pay peo­ple to pull off such a long list. Th­ese things just wouldn’t hap­pen.

It’s ob­vi­ous that we should thank all those vol­un­teers who work tire­lessly for months and some­times year round, to make th­ese events hap­pen. Our com­mu­ni­ties are the bet­ter be­cause of their ef­forts, or at least that’s the view from here.

Ver­non Oickle was born and raised in Liver­pool where he con­tin­ues to re­side with his fam­ily. He has worked for more than 30 years in com­mu­nity news­pa­pers on the South Shore and is the au­thor of 28 books.

Kathy John­son/file

The warm weather is here to stay (for now) and so is the South Shore’s list of sum­mer and fall fes­ti­vals. One fes­ti­val on this year’s radar is the Shel­burne Kayak Fes­ti­val Aug. 17-19.

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