Swim the Kyle now a two-day event

Har­bour Grace adds fam­ily ac­tiv­i­ties and so­cials for 5th an­niver­sary

The Compass - - OPINION - BYMELISSA JENK­INS Melissa.jenk­ins@tc.tc

For the fifth year in a row, the Swim the Kyle event held near River­head, Har­bour Grace will take place, but this year there are quite a few ad­di­tions.

The event has tra­di­tion­ally con­sisted of Libby Earle, daugh­ter of for­mer S.S. Kyle cap­tain Guy Earle, and a group of vol­un­teers swim­ming in the Har­bour Grace har­bour to touch the hull of the grounded ship, and other live en­ter­tain­ment.

This year, the Town of Har­bour Grace de­cided to make the event fam­ily-friendly and boost com­mu­nity spirit by adding some ac­tiv­i­ties and cel­e­bra­tions for all ages.

Coun. Hay­ward Blake is a mem­ber of a com­mit­tee who ar­ranged the events that will take place July 12-13.

“The Kyle is syn­ony­mous with Har­bour Grace,” Blake told The Com­pass. “So, we have de­cided to take this op­por­tu­nity to make this a larger com­mu­nity event.”

The com­mit­tee be­gan mak­ing ar­range­ments sev­eral months ago to host a se­ries of events to bring the res­i­dents of the town to­gether, and also give the 101-year-old ship some at­ten­tion.

What to ex­pect

The Swim the Kyle will still take place at 4 p.m. on Satur­day, July 12. But that will not be the only high­light of the weekend. The cel­e­bra­tions will kick off Satur­day with an all-day break­fast at three restaurants in town — Kay’s, Breaktime and Ho­tel Har­bour Grace.

“I be­lieve there have been well over 100 tick­ets sold (to the break­fast),” Blake ex­plained. “If that is any in­di­ca­tion of the suc­cess, it should go quite well.”

Early af­ter­noon is when the fun will be­gin. A fam­ily fun day with all sorts of ac­tiv­i­ties will take place near the wa­ter­front at 2 p.m. Face paint­ing, bal­loon twist­ing, food and drinks and crafts will keep the fam­ily busy.

“We have been try­ing to find ways to hold events to bring the com­mu­nity to­gether,” Blake said. “Cre­ate some com­mu­nity spirit.”

A boat flotilla will also take place dur­ing the fam­ily ac­tiv­i­ties. Boats from the com­mu­nity will gather around the har­bour close to the Kyle.

At 8 p.m. an adult so­cial will take place at the Ad­mi­ral’s Ma­rina in South Side Har­bour Grace, where snacks and drinks are be­ing pro­vided by the com­mit­tee.

Sun­day will see a unique ec­u­meni­cal ser­vice take place.

The all-de­nom­i­na­tion event will take place at 2 p.m. to con­clude the fes­tiv­i­ties.

As was cus­tom­ary when the Kyle was ac­tive, the ser­vice was held to see off the ves­sel on its voy­age.

The com­mit­tee con­sists of seven mem­bers, all ded­i­cated to the event. They are Blake, Joy Sparkes, Jean Haire, Denise Blake, Bon­nie Shep­pard, Phil Shep­pard and Lona Stone.

For in­for­ma­tion on the weekend’s events or for tick­ets, con­tact the town of­fice at 596-3631.

Save the Kyle

Just this past March, the chart room lo­cated on the ship col­lapsed into the wheel house, caus­ing a de­bate on whether or not the ship should be dis­man­tled or fixed up.

The money was not avail­able from the provin­cial govern­ment, but many in Har­bour Grace, in­clud­ing town coun­cil­lors, wanted to see it pre­served in some way.

The Swim the Kyle event has helped raise aware­ness about the ship. Libby Earle has pledged her com­mit­ment to save the Kyle, but it’s un­known what the fate of the ship will be.

Oth­ers have also said they would do what they could to en­sure it’s not for­got­ten, and this event may help keep that fight go­ing.

For more in­for­ma­tion on he S.S. Kyle and the Swim the Kyle event, visit www.sskyle.org.

Com­pass file pho­tos

Libby Earle, daugh­ter of for­mer S.S. Kyle cap­tain Guy Earle, (left) and well-known mu­si­cian Sandy Mor­ris take part in a pre­vi­ous Swim the Kyle event. This year prom­ises to be big­ger and bet­ter than ever.

The S.S. Kyle still sits in the har­bour in the Town of Har­bour Grace, and will be cel­e­brated July 12 and 13 dur­ing the Swim the Kyle weekend.

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