Third time’s a Charm!

Stanstead Journal - - FROM PAGE ONE - Vic­to­ria Vanier Stanstead

You know you’ve been to a suc­cess­ful Town­ship­pers’ Day when there is so much go­ing on that the day just flies by. And that was the case, last Satur­day, for many of the thou­sands of vis­i­tors who at­tended the Town­ship­pers’ As­so­ci­a­tion’s an­nual event, held this year in Stanstead.

An im­pos­si­ble task to visit ev­ery tent, ev­ery spe­cial ac­tiv­ity put on by lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions and ev­ery mu­si­cal per­for­mance, but what I did see was im­pres­sive. Many of the ven­dor ta­bles were manned by lo­cal ar­ti­sans and food pro­duc­ers with a nice va­ri­ety of unique items like MarieJo­hanne Gagné’s bath bomb cup­cakes and Misty Poitras’ home-made bath prod­ucts and laun­dry soap. A craft­ing group of five women from both sides of the bor­der, Diane Bertrand, Linda Keymer, Brenda Odegard, Cindy Pate­naude and Sylvia Poirier, had a fan­tas­tic as­sort­ment of hand­i­crafts like quilts, jew­ellery and won­der­fully whim­si­cal, hand-sewn cup­cake and cake dec­o­ra­tions.

Po­lice or­ga­ni­za­tions such as the Sureté du Québec and the RCMP usu­ally run in­for­ma­tion kiosks at T-day and this year, be­cause of Stanstead’s po­si­tion on the map, they had com­pany: rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the In­ter­na­tional Bor­der En­force­ment Team (IBET) had a kiosk in the Pat Burns Arena. “Peo­ple have a lot of ques­tions about the bor­der; we deal with se­cu­rity, not com­merce. We’ve come here be­fore to the Haskell and to the town to ad­dress the coun­cil­lors, but it’s the first time we’ve come to this kind of ac­tiv­ity,” ex­plained the Pa­trol Agent in Charge of the New­port Bor­der Pa­trol Sta­tion, Fer­nando Bel­tram, who was at the booth with his Cana­dian coun­ter­part from the RCMP, Of­fi­cer Cyn­thia Mélaçon. “The con­cept for in­ter­na­tional teams all along the bor­der came right af­ter the 911 at­tacks and this one here is one of the best, al­ways be­ing used as a model, partly due to the lead­er­ship of Greg Bishop,” added Mr. Bel­tram.

Mov­ing out­side af­ter tour­ing the new arena, there were groups of peo­ple all over the main site, which was nestled in be­tween the Manoir Stanstead and the arena , talk­ing and en­joy­ing the sun or check­ing out the food and craft booths set up out­side. Scouts Canada were mak­ing a first ap­pear­ance at a Town­ship­pers’ Day event. Al­ways look­ing for new mem­bers and vol­un­teers, they set up a huge climb­ing wall that peo­ple could try out to at­tract at­ten­tion.

Not far from the climb­ing wall a game of ‘cow patty bingo’ was go­ing on as the pa­tient play­ers watched and waited for “Red Dawn”, the cow, to make her ‘move’. Or­ga­nized by three teach­ers from Sun­ny­side Ele­men­tary, Emily Grey, Tammy Mosher and Co­lette Roy, the ac­tiv­ity raised $950 for the school. Emily Young won the $50 prize by choos­ing lucky num­ber 113. Red Dawn was gra­ciously pro­vided and trans­ported by Greyledge Sim­men­tals, from Cook­shire, for the oc­ca­sion.

There was no short­age of kids want­ing to try out the cir­cus equip­ment of Michael Jean­son, like Shayde and Raeanna Brus of Stanstead. Asked if her chil­dren were find­ing lots to do at Town­ship­pers’ Day, their Mom an­swered,

“Oh yeah. They’re hav­ing a great time!” Teenagers Molly De­sormeaux and Trevor Perkins, a young, in­ter­na­tional cou­ple com­ing from, re­spec­tively, Stanstead and West­more, Ver­mont, also looked like they were en­joy­ing the day. “We’re hav­ing fun and it’s a good turnout. We re­ally en­joyed go­ing to the booth of the lo­cal bak­ery,” said Molly who had also had her face painted.

Mu­sic per­for­mances went on all af­ter­noon in the beau­ti­ful Chapel of the Manoir Stanstead although I only made it to one. I fi­nally got to hear the Choromondo Choir who made an im­pres­sive en­trance for their per­for­mance, walk­ing through the au­di­ence singing as choir mas­ter Alynna Har­ris beat a large, an­i­mal skin drum. I don’t know if it was the first time that the Choir had ever per­formed in the Manoir’s Chapel, how­ever, the room’s acous­tics seemed per­fect for their beau­ti­ful voices.

Late in the af­ter­noon, when the day was just about done, I spoke with Stanstead mayor Philippe Du­til who was get­ting ready to join up with the vol­un­teer clean-up crew. “It was an amaz­ing day – all the events were well-or­ga­nized. Most peo­ple I spoke with said it was the best Town­ship­pers’ Day they’d been to,” he com­mented.

Town­ship­pers’ As­so­ci­a­tion’s Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor, Ingrid Marini, also had a smile on her face at the end of the day. “It was an ab­so­lutely in­cred­i­ble day. I’ve seen noth­ing but smiles on the faces of vis­i­tors and com­mit­tee mem­bers. We had a won­der­ful va­ri­ety of en­ter­tain­ment and per­for­mances from di­verse in­di­vid­u­als and artists that re­ally demon­strated the rich­ness of the re­gion,” com­mented Ms. Marini. It seemed like the only snag was run­ning out of park­ing in the park­ing area for a lit­tle while. She was also im­pressed with the hos­pi­tal­ity of ev­ery­one, in­clud­ing that of lo­cal res­i­dent Ge­orge Weller who took Ms. Marini on a quick plane ride so she could see the big event from the skies.

“The whole com­mit­tee also did an ex­cel­lent job of keep­ing to bud­get and the com­mu­nity was very gen­er­ous with their spon­sor­ships and do­na­tions to the Silent Auc­tion,” con­cluded the Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor.

photo Stanstead Jour­nal

Renelle Du­til and her hus­band, Stanstead mayor Philippe Du­til, en­joy a quick squeeze to­gether at T-Day.

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