Poems, paintings and pictures
Second Annual Whiteway March Hare Festival continues to entertain as it tells province’s stories
Those fortunate enough to attend the second annual March Hare Festival in scenic Whiteway, Trinity Bay, March 28 were treated to an entertaining mix of poems, paintings and pictures by artists, writers, and readers.
Organizer Shirley George of Whiteway says,“We thought we had a pretty good time and we had really good speakers. We had a good turnout. There were 110 seats laid out for audience members at the Whiteway Municipal Centre and most of those were occupied all day.
“Of course,” she adds, “you also have a fair number of folks who prefer to stand in the rear of building down near the artwork and listen to the presentations so it’s hard to get an exact number. For some of the special guests, like Dr. Otto Tucker, it was basically standing room only.”
Tucker, a native of Winterton, is a recipient of the Order of Canada and the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador. He’s widely known from stage plays and as the beloved character Grandpa Walcott in the Yarns From Pigeon Inlet CBC TV series based on the writings of author Ted Russell. Dr. Tucker is a co-founder of the Wessex Society of Newfoundland and active in the promotion of historical ties of Newfoundland to the West Country of England.
For those unfamiliar with the term March Hare a website at U R L http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mar ch_Hare_(festival) notes:
“The March Hare is Atlantic Canada’s largest poetry festival. The March Hare began as an evening of poetry and entertainment in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador, and has evolved into an annual islandwide celebration of words and music. The Hare is loosely associated with Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, and takes place in March of each year. As its reputation has grown, the March Hare has attracted increasingly high-profile poets, authors, musicians and storytellers, featuring in recent years Michael Ondaatje, Alistair MacLeod, Paul Durcan, Lorna Crozier, Patrick Lane, Susan Musgrave, Stephen Reid, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Wayne Johnston, Stan Dragland, Ron Hynes, Michael Crummey, and many others.
“ Early contributors to the March Hare included Al Pittman, John Steffler, Randall Maggs, Adrian Fowler, David “Smoky” Elliott, Des Walsh, Clyde Rose, Nick Avis, and Pamela Morgan. Many continue to participate in the festival today.
The March Hare was initiated in the late 1980s (1987 or 1988) by Rex Brown, Al Pittman, and George Daniels, as a way to generate business at the Blomidon Golf and Country Club during the winter months (Daniels was the manager there). The exact year the festival began is uncertain, but the 2007 event will be considered the twentieth March Hare. The March Hare takes its name from a character in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. According to Rex Brown, the name is also intended as a pun on the words here (celebrating a sense of place) and hear (since its focus is the spoken word).”
There was an abundance of engaging works of art displayed and wonderful stories exchanged at the Whiteway 2009 version of the March Hare, which was made up of two categories, visual artists and speaking participants.
The visual artists included: from Whiteway, artists Renee Butler-Harnum, Darrell Yetman, Clifford George, Wayne George, Jane Prior, and Mary George; Blaketown artist Melissa Strick- land; Andy Williams, Winston Williams and Frank Lapointe, New Harbour; Roberta Burry, Western Bay; St. Phillips artist Pamela Williams; Leona Ottenheimer, Jackie Evans, Adolf Crant, and Judy Drover, St. John’s; and photographers Albert Legge, Whiteway; Dennis Flynn, Colliers; Allison George, Wenda Crummell and Patsy Pond Gosse, St. John’s and John Woodman, photographer/artist, Dildo.
A number of the artists also spoke. Along with Dr. Tucker, other speaking participants were Thomas Dawe, David Prior, James A. McGrath, Tom Henihan, Lisa Day Brown, Jim Rogin, Ronald ( Butch) Strickland, Katie Whelan, William Gilbert, Sara-Lynn Cumby, Dave White, Dr. Michael MaGuire, Eli Bryant, Doug Colwell, Leslie Burgess , Stephanie Banton and George Lambert.
Sh ir ley George says the event was a success both from an arts perspective and as a social endeavour to get people out together during the winter months.
She notes the committee greatly appreciated “ the contributions of monetary gifts, time, effort, food, and supplies and to all those who accepted our invitation to participate and read.”
The last words go to painter Clifford George who says, “The March Hare was started here because of Al Pittman. Al was a dear friend of ours and we wanted to honour Al and get young people interacting in the arts.
“Young folks were telling stories and didn’t have an outlet. Al would be happy about this event. Al had a poem 30 for 60 that talks about when a father was near death he told his son to always go “30 for 60” in a game of growl (card game) and you’d have a better life because you were always taking chances.
“That’s what we did here,” George concludes, “took a little chance and I think it worked out.”
THE EDGE — Dr. Otto Tucker, age 85, reads a selection from David “Smoky” Elliot’s book The Edge of Beulah at the second annual March Hare event held in Whiteway, Trinity Bay March 28.
CABOT TOWER — Leona Ottenheimer, a native of Long Harbour, Placentia Bay, stands beside some of her paintings.
ROSE BLANCHE - George Lambert read several of his poems and a new work, A Speck in the Sky, a tribute to the 17 victims of Cougar Helicopter Flight 491 crash, which included two of his relatives. The St. Lawrence native holds a replica of the vessel Northern Ranger, which he constructed. The painting of Rose Blanche is also his work.