Townshipper’s Day Draws Thousands More Than Expected
Stanstead has become the hub of much social activity this month, most especially for the Townshipper’s day celebrations hosted here last Saturday. The Townshipper’s Day events typically draw thousands of visitors to its’ host town each year. According to municipal council sources, the event attracted roughly three thousand visitors to the 2010 host town of Danville, Quebec, but Stanstead appears to have been even more successful. According to preliminary estimates it appears there were between 5,000 and 7,000 visitors that passed through Stanstead on Saturday. The precise number is hard to verify, but without doubt this is one of the greatest turnouts in the history of Townshipper’s Day. As the weather can play a role in the day’s attendance, it was with high spirits many Stanstead residents awoke on Saturday to find our town blessed with a beautiful autumn day, resplendent with plenty of sunshine.
The event’s numerous venues were located in both Stanstead and Rock Island, but all were chosen as a means of showcasing Stanstead’s architectural and cultural strengths. André Fratelli, owner of the new Manoir Stanstead, was on the organizing committee for Townshipper’s Day and offered the use of the Manoir Residence for many of the day’s events. The Pat Burns Arena, among other local attractions, was also host to events for the day. It was a wonderful opportunity for the town to show off its’ newest facilities to outside visitors. Other, more historic sites that hosted events were the Colby Curtis Museum, the Vieux Forgeron Art Gallery, GranitCentral, the Haskell Opera House and the Stone Circle.
Townshipper’s Day may create business for the host town, but there are also costs and a great deal of organizing associated with coordinating such a large event. The organizing committee was quite resourceful in creating means of generating income from the visitors. The Stanstead Passports, for a cost of $2.00 per per-
son, offered visitors a free bus service to the numerous sites where the day’s events were taking place. Donated items were auctioned in the Manoir Stanstead ballroom and there was the Great Rock Raffle. The raffle tickets were $2 each and prizes were valued at over $2000. The three main prizes were all made of granite and consisted of a wall etching, coffee table and a granite bench. Ticket holders were all entered into a draw for a one night stay at our beautiful local B&B, the Domaine les Boisés Lee Farm.
Although the day was much larger than Borderfest, it had a similar feel of easy- going charm that can only be found in the country. Saturday’s events swept through more corners of the town than Borderfest and many participants were from out of town. The day seemed to have passed without incident, everything moved along as it should. This is an indication that organizers did a fabulous job making such a complicated event appear easy. The activities for children, artisan booths and music tent were all reminiscent of this summer’s Borderfest, and the day offered as much fun for visitors as we have come to enjoy at our own local community events.