Serving up traditional fare
Winterland Heritage Association Jiggs dinner a popular attraction
For the past 15 years, members of the Winterland Heritage Association have been serving up a traditional Jiggs dinner at the Heritage House in that community.
The weekly event, which goes ahead each Wednesday from mid-August to mid-October, has proven to be so popular, it never has to be advertised — there is always a waiting list of people who want to attend.
Once the vegetables are ready for harvesting, it’s time to make plans and get organized to raise funds to keep the Winterland Heritage House in good repair and carry out needed upgrades to the eco-museum trail and boardwalk.
Winterland is a relatively young community, which only came into being in 1939 when the Commission of Government brought in a resettlement program aimed at diversifying the economy by getting some people away from their fishing boats and into farming.
A total of 23 families from Port Elizabeth, Garnish, Burin and Baine Harbour took advantage of the financial incentives offered by the government of the day to make the move to Winterland in 1940. That first year the population totaled 92, but increased in 1941 when four new babies were born.
Eloise Newport (nee Collins) and Grace Kenway (nee Senior), now age 76, were two of these babies. Both women are dedicated volunteers and can be found at the Winterland Heritage House on Wednesdays helping prepare and serve their delicious Jiggs dinners.
“Our community is very important to us,” says Eloise. “All eight of us each week know our jobs we have to do, and being involved with the Jiggs dinner is one way we can contribute.”
All of the original homes built in Winterland were alike, says Eloise, having three bedrooms, a parlor, a kitchen and a pantry. The Heritage House where the Jiggs dinner is served is an exact replica of those early houses, containing many artifacts and photos depicting the early days of the farming community. Local crafts are on display and can be purchased at an adjacent building.
Up to 40 people can be accommodated at the Heritage House each week for the Jiggs dinner. Prior to the dinner, folks are treated to traditional music and songs courtesy of well-known Marystown musician/singer Con Fitzpatrick.
Jim Farewell is president of the Winterland Heritage Association.
Note: The other two Winterland babies born in 1941 were Addie Grandy (nee Masters) and Jean Clements (nee Dicks). Both married men from Grand Bank and raised their families in that community.
In a future Down Memory Lane column, we will delve further into the early history of Winterland, including its first settler, Frank “Farmer” Simms, who actually moved into the area with his family nearly three decades before the town officially came into being.
The eight dedicated volunteers of the Winterland Heritage Association, along with Marystown musician Con Fitzpatrick, pose for a photo in front of the Heritage House after cooking up and serving a traditional Jiggs dinner to 40 satisfied patrons. Front: Con Fitzpatrick, John Gover, Phoebe Gover and Jim Farewell. Back: Randy Brenton, Heber Kenway, Grace Kenway, Eloise Newport and Ida Devereaux.
Marystown musician/singer Con Fitzpatrick literally sings for his dinner at the very popular Winterland Heritage Association Jiggs dinner each Wednesday from mid-August to mid-October. He offers his musical and singing talents free of charge, which adds to the great experience enjoyed by the 40 people who attend. Fitzpatrick is rewarded with a delicious traditional Newfoundland meal.