In­tro­duc­ing the Great North­ern Vik­ing Fes­ti­val in 2019

Or­ga­ni­za­tion of a new fes­ti­val is un­der­way

Northern Pen - - Local Mayors Look Back At 2018 - BY STEPHEN ROBERTS GREAT NORTH­ERN PENIN­SULA, N.L.

Wendy Nut­tall has plans for a new and ex­cit­ing way to close out the tourism sea­son in north­ern New­found­land.

The come-from-away has been or­ga­niz­ing for the Great North­ern Vik­ing Fes­ti­val, to pre­miere on the tip of the Great North­ern Penin­sula in Oc­to­ber 2019. Nut­tall hails from Saskatchewan but has made the Great North­ern Penin­sula a part-time home the past few years.

The fes­ti­val is sched­uled for Oct. 3-6 and Nut­tall is hop­ing it will be­come an an­nual event. Across the four days, the or­ga­nizer is look­ing to in­clude events in var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ties from Cook’s Har­bour to L’Anse aux Mead­ows to Goose Cove, and most ev­ery­where in be­tween.

She has taken an in­ter­est in tourism in the area and she has felt a press­ing need to have some­thing to mark the end of the tourism sea­son.

She told The North­ern Pen she con­ceived the idea for two rea­sons.

Firstly, Nut­tall felt there was noth­ing for tourists to do upon the clo­sure of the L’Anse aux Mead­ows Na­tional His­toric Site in Oc­to­ber.

“(The na­tional site) al­ways closes Fri­day and then Satur­day morn­ing (tourists) were won­der­ing what to do,” she said. “They’re on hol­i­days, they think they got a week­end. And I had noth­ing to of­fer.”

Nut­tall said she could point them to year-round busi­nesses in the area but there wasn’t any­thing else.

Se­condly, Nut­tall felt there needed to be some­thing to mark the end of the tourism sea­son.

“The Ice­berg Fes­ti­val kicks us off beau­ti­fully (in June) and then there’s noth­ing in the fall,” she said.

She found in­spi­ra­tion in the Celtic Colours In­ter­na­tional Fes­ti­val in Cape Bre­ton.

“Each lit­tle town has their venue or their favourite artist or what­ever they de­cide to put on,” she said about that fes­ti­val. “It goes around the whole is­land. So why can’t we do that here?”

She hopes there will be events in each town, show­cas­ing what each com­mu­nity is all about and al­low­ing tourists to choose which events they’d like to at­tend.

One of the big ideas Nut­tall has is a “Great North­ern Vik­ing Break­fast”. This would in­clude a seven-course meal served over two hours, and an ed­u­ca­tion on wine. It will be a so­cial event that will al­low at­ten­dees to learn about wine mak­ing and pair­ing it with cer­tain foods.

Nut­tall has other ideas for a pub night, a New­fie night screech-in, mum­mer­ing, and Vik­ing saga sto­ry­telling.

She will be con­tact­ing re-en­act­ment groups to put off a play, ideally at the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion in St. An­thony.

Those are just some of the ideas Nut­tall has.

The fes­ti­val will also re­quire more plan­ning and co­op­er­a­tion with the lo­cal busi­ness com­mu­nity.

Nut­tall is cur­rently mak­ing the rounds, speak­ing to busi­nesses to look for sup­port and con­sult­ing about po­ten­tial events.

Ford Blake, Terry Hed­der­son, Thelma Hed­der­son, Bur­den’s Store and JK Road­side Con­ve­nience are some of the lo­cal peo­ple and busi­nesses who are part­ner­ing with her so far.

Nut­tall’s aware that cer­tain busi­nesses can’t con­tinue op­er­at­ing into Oc­to­ber but she still hopes to cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties to in­volve them as well.

She sug­gests hav­ing ad­ver­tis­ing for these busi­nesses, per­haps cre­at­ing a video so tourists can see what they have to of­fer.

“It comes around to that old thing that fish­er­men said years ago, ‘No one vis­its New­found­land once.’ I know if they’re here in Oc­to­ber, they’re go­ing to leave and they’re go­ing to want to come back,” she said. “If they see your busi­ness there, it gives them an op­por­tu­nity to call you ear­lier in the next sea­son. So, it is an op­por­tu­nity for your closed busi­ness, even in Oc­to­ber.”

Nut­tall’s ul­ti­mate goal is for this to bring money to the area and to in­cor­po­rate the peo­ple and busi­nesses of the area as much as pos­si­ble.

She is look­ing for spon­sor­ships and hopes to hold fundrais­ers lead­ing up to the event.

Any­one look­ing to learn more about the Great North­ern Vik­ing Fes­ti­val can con­tact Nut­tall by phone at (709) 623-2869 or by email at great­north­ern­vikingfes­ti­[email protected]­dynut­tall.ca

STEPHEN ROBERTS – THE NORTH­ERN PEN

Wendy Nut­tall is or­ga­niz­ing the Great North­ern Vik­ing Fes­ti­val for 2019, hop­ing it will be­come an an­nual event to close off the tourism sea­son on the tip of the Great North­ern Penin­sula.

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