See you in Hat­ley on Canada Day !

It’s Float-mak­ing sea­son

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier, Hat­ley

Ev­ery July 1st people just seem to come out of the wood­work, many from the vil­lage of Hat­ley it­self, to join the Hat­ley Canada Day Com­mit­tee in putting on one of the re­gion’s most pop­u­lar fam­ily events: the Hat­ley Canada Day Cel­e­bra­tion.

Whether they’re set­ting up ta­bles for the ar­ti­sans, di­rect­ing traf­fic, col­lect­ing do­na­tions for the free event at the en­trances or hand­ing out the tra­di­tional wooden nick­els with the day’s pro­grams, with­out these peren­nial vol­un­teers this one hun­dred and six year-old event just wouldn’t hap­pen.

Shirley Brunelle and Mead Bald­win are just two of those vol­un­teers who will be head­ing off early to the Hat­ley Commons on July 1st to get ready for their task: judg­ing the en­trants in the pa­rade. “I worked on the Roads Com­mit­tee for about twenty-five years col­lect­ing do­na­tions, then I took a lit­tle break. About five years ago when the pre­vi­ous pa­rade judges, Thelma Coté and Corinne Drew, stepped down, the com­mit­tee ap­proached me to judge the floats,” ex­plained Mrs. Brunelle who moved to Hat­ley with her hus­band Jim in 1974. Un­der­stand­ing that it’s ‘com­mu­nity in­volve­ment’ that re­ally makes a com­mu­nity, they have both been ac­tive mem­bers of Hat­ley, Shirley as a town coun­cilor and then the mayor, while Jim was ac­tive in the vol­un­teer fire depart­ment.

“It’s a big job on the roads,” con­tin­ued Mrs. Brunelle. “It starts at 9:30 and as you get closer to pa­rade time the line-up of cars is in­cred­i­ble. At one point they have to stop all the cars un­til the pa­rade is over, but most people are re­spect­ful; they know how it works.”

“I’m just a ju­nior judge – I was a rookie last year. But Shirley has lots of ex­pe­ri­ence so it worked out well,” said Rev­erend Mead Bald­win, a min­is­ter with the United Church. “Be­fore I be­came a judge I was park­ing cars, di­rect­ing traf­fic; they al­ways need help to put on that event,” men­tioned Mead who grew up in Bald­win Mills and who has been at­tend­ing the Hat­ley Canada Day cel­e­bra­tion for as long as he can re­mem­ber. “I’ve been on floats and I’ve helped de­sign floats. The ‘Strong and Free’ theme is a lit­tle chal­leng­ing this year,” ad­mit­ted Rev­erend Bald­win.

The two judges had some good ad­vice for float mak­ers who have their ‘eye on the prize’, those hop­ing to win some of the cash prizes handed out to the three top en­trants in each of the six cat­e­gories: Se­nior, Ju­nior, mini-floats, spe­cials (any­thing that doesn’t fit into the other cat­e­gories), semis and dec­o­rated bikes. “It’s im­por­tant to think of the theme; you need a start­ing point. I think it’s nice when the whole fam­ily gets in­volved in mak­ing a float, and if they en­joy mak­ing it, it will show!” said Mrs. Brunelle.

“In my mind, you don’t just stick people on a float; you need dec­o­ra­tions, art, and a lit­tle com­edy is good, some­thing that makes you smile or sur­prises that may you look, then look again. You have to have pas­sion and put ef­fort into it. A good ex­am­ple of that would be last year’s CAB Rediker Flames, from Ayer’s Cliff. They were so pas­sion­ate and they had a huge ban­ner that they made and were walk­ing with,” com­mented Mead about last year’s first place win­ners of the ‘Spe­cials’ class.

What float de­sign­ers should keep in mind is that the “Over­all Ef­fect” is most im­por­tant (50%), fol­lowed by orig­i­nal­ity (20%), theme por­trayal (10%) and the work in­volved (20%). “One thing about floats is that kids love to be on them, wav­ing at the crowd. And grand­par­ents love to see their grand­kids on a float,” men­tioned Rev­erend Bald­win.

Both Shirley and Mead en­joy ev­ery­thing that comes along with be­ing a Canada Day Pa­rade judge. “We get the best view of the pa­rade up on the bal­cony. We get to re­ally see all the floats, all the joy of the kids,” com­mented Mead. “You feel like you’ve done a small part to help out, you see all the people, all the floats and all the ef­fort people put into the floats. That’s one of the best things about be­ing a judge,” said Shirley.

“Most people look for­ward to July 1st in Hat­ley; I don’t think we’ve ever missed it. Friends and fam­ily come ev­ery year to stay with us for it, and we’re not the only res­i­dents who have vis­i­tors on July 1st. Many people sched­ule their va­ca­tions around the pa­rade,” she added.

“My part in the event is just a small one. It’s not one per­son that can make an event like this hap­pen; it’s ev­ery­one work­ing to­gether!” she con­cluded.

Photo Vic­to­ria Vanier

Rev­erend Mead Bald­win, from Water­ville, will be judg­ing floats at the Hat­ley Canada Day Cel­e­bra­tion along with fel­low judge, Shirley Brunelle.

Photo Vic­to­ria Vanier

Floats, like this one at last year’s Canada Day, don’t have to be fancy, just imag­i­na­tive!

Photo Vic­to­ria Vanier

The Ayer’s Cliff Flames of the CAB RH Rediker won a prize at last year’s event with their great enthusiasm.

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