Big Top partly down but not out in Bunnell’s People column
Takes more than a little breeze to knock the wind out of the Railway City Big Top.
Monday’s stormy weather blew down part of the circus tent on Wellington Street, and forced removal of Sunday’s Canada 150 celebrations hosted by EML MP Karen Vecchio and MPP Jeff Yurek, to nearby Timken Centre.
“The tent was damaged in the storm and will have to have a few of the side panels replaced,” confirms Sean Dyke, GM of venue-sponsoring St. Thomas Economic Development Corp.
“We have people working to do that now and it should actually be ready by the weekend, but I wasn’t confident enough in the repair timeline to guarantee it, so I recommended to Karen that she move her event.”
Sean says he expects Thursday’s Bon Jovi tribute concert to go ahead as planned.
He’s beaming #stthomasproud about the unique showplace.
“The circus was amazing and all the events in the tent so far have been outstanding.
“I’m looking forward to another month-and-a-half of events at this unique and exciting venue.”
Just announced, the Northern Pikes are to tune up Oct. 20 under the big top, on the band’s 30th anniversary tour.
(And if ’n you can’t wait, Roy LeBlanc emcees “two full days of hip swivelling, lip curling fun” with the first ever King of the Railway City Competition and 15 Elvis acts — count ’em, 15! — starting Friday, Oct. 13. Lucky StT!)
The International Plowing Match is 100 this year – and the annual Elgin county match is as venerable.
But no grass growing under the 30-plus competitors expected for the 2017 county match Saturday at 40155 Talbot Line, which is Andrelea Farms just northeast of Talbotville on the Highway 3 bypass.
Nope – not a blade. They’re plowing Saturday with tractors and horses (registration 9 a.m., first plowing class 10 a.m. elected officials and others 1 p.m., Queen of the Furrow 2 p.m.). And old-timers – antique plows, that is – are back for another go Sunday. Admission by donation.
Port Stanley Optimists start serving breakfast at 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning, and dinner and awards Saturday evening at St. James Presbyterian Church wrap the day.
Though no-till cropping is the practice these days on many farms, plowing is making a comeback, says Allister Cameron, a competition steward (and three-time Elgin champion).
And it’s a true test of skill. Allister explains judging is based on technique – even furrows, straightness, covering trash – verses plowing as much as you can in a set time.
Brian Lunn is president of the Elgin branch of the Ontario Plowmen’s Assoc. Volunteers welcome.
The 2017 Queen of the Furrow is to be crowned at the dinner, succeeding 2016 Queen Jody Aldred, who will represent Elgin at this year’s IPM, Sept.1923 in Walton. 2015 Elgin Queen Anita Rastapkevicius is the reigning IPM Queen.
There you have it!
Though the curtain has come down on their summer season, they’re still playing around at Port Stanley Festival Theatre, where PSFT’s 6th annual Playwrights’ Festival is next weekend with readings of two new plays, 8 p.m. Sept. 15-16.
The festival is part of the theatre’s mandate to develop new Canadian theatre. PSFT premiered Five Alarm this summer after festivalling the Kristen da Silva comedy last year; previous new plays have included The Birds and the Bees, Birds of a Feather, Bingo Ladies and Not In My Backyard, all workshopped in Port and then produced on the PSFT stage.
Artistic director Simon Joynes says he reads about 30 submissions a year. Each of the two scripts he chooses for the Playwrights’ Festival receives a two-day workshop – this year with Simon and actors Jeff Culbert, Matthew Gorman, Karen Parker, Stephen Sparks – pre a public reading and discussion.
On offer the Friday night, It’s Your Funeral, a first-time play by actor Jamie Williams (on stage in 2015 in Port, in Real Estate).
Simon: “The piece is a period farce (1940s) set in a funeral parlour just purchased by George Cranston (an ex gambling addict) and his wife, Helen, along with some mysterious ‘silent partners’, on the morning of their first big funeral.”
Well, turns out the silent partners are the mob. And that’s just for starters.
Simon: “Complications ensue ….”
On the Saturday, Buying the Farm, a romantic comedy by Stephen Sparks and partner Shelley Hoffman. Also a firsttime script for Stephen (on stage in 2010 in Wrong for Each Other). But Shelley’s a veteran scripter (and a Gemini winner, to boot).
“A young front man for a real estate developer, Brad, shows up attempting to buy an ancestral farm from its current elderly owner, Magnus. Magnus’s great niece, Esme, is strongly opposed to the idea greatly adding to the conflict inherent in the situation as well as to the romantic possibilities.”
Admission by donation. Reserve a seat by calling the theatre or clicking through portstanleytheatre.ca
Yep. We’re waking up to September for sure. The furnace has come on. The dew is thick in the morning until it steams off the rooftops.
Kids are walking to their school bus stops.
There’s a minute to grab one more coffee. But when it’s time to head to the word factory, you can barely see driving east on Wellington Street, with the morning sun bright in your eyes.
Gotta be careful, there.
Couple more September things.
Pumpkins at the market … and country pumpkin ice cream at Shaw’s.
And summer is disappearing off the shelves at the Tire. I believe the holiday festive season soon may be in store ….
Strong winds Monday blew down part of the Railway City Big Top. But repairs are under way and the venue is expected to reopen shortly.