Fes­ti­val of Na­tions re­turns

Will take place in Te­cum­seh Park as part of Canada Day cel­e­bra­tions

The Chatham Daily News - - NEWS - tter­[email protected]­media.com Twit­ter.com/Dai­lyNewsTT TREVOR TERFLOTH

Ab­sent for two decades, the Fes­ti­val of Na­tions will re­turn to Te­cum­seh Park this sum­mer as part of cel­e­bra­tions sur­round­ing Canada Day.

The an­nounce­ment was made Fri­day af­ter­noon for the event, which at­tracted thou­sands of visi­tors to the park dur­ing its 13-year run that ended in 1998.

Tracy Cal­laghan and Dava Ro­bichaud will co-chair the fes­ti­val, ac­cord­ing to a me­dia re­lease.

Cal­laghan said her work with Adult Lan­guage and Learn­ing has ex­posed her to the many cul­tures that make up Canada.

“I was in­volved with Canada Day sev­eral years ago and I re­mem­ber how pop­u­lar it was,” she said in the re­lease. “I’m ex­cited to be a part of the team.”

Ro­bichaud ex­pects a busy down­town area and Canada’s birth­day cel­e­bra­tions will be a good com­bi­na­tion.

“Chatham-Kent res­i­dents have shown they will sup­port events such as this and I be­lieve we can have a pos­i­tive im­pact on the com­mu­nity,” she said. “I’m ex­cited to be part of bring­ing back this event that many peo­ple will now have the op­por­tu­nity to share with their chil­dren, pass­ing on a tra­di­tion so many have pre­vi­ously en­joyed.”

The group is in the process of setting ex­act dates for the event and will put out a call for vol­un­teers in the near fu­ture.

The orig­i­nal fes­ti­val took place over sev­eral days, fea­tur­ing food and cul­tural dis­plays along with entertainment. For­mer mayor Bill Erick­son chaired it for many years.

Don Kiekens, who chaired last year’s Canada Day event, said he wel­comes the re­turn of the the fes­ti­val.

“The more we can do to cel­e­brate Canada’s her­itage, the bet­ter,” he said. “Hav­ing the dif­fer­ent ac­tiv­i­ties brought by the Fes­ti­val of Na­tions will make for a bet­ter ex­pe­ri­ence for ev­ery­one.”

Mayor Dar­rin Can­niff said he is happy with the re­cep­tion from the Canada Day group.

He be­lieves the fes­ti­val will be an as­set to the com­mu­nity.

“We are not here to steal any­one’s thun­der but to help grow the events that have been tak­ing place,” he said. “The Fes­ti­val of Na­tions was ex­tremely pop­u­lar and high­lighted the cul­tures that have built Canada into the na­tion it is today.”

FILE PHOTO

Michelle Wright thrilled lo­cal fans when she per­formed at the Fes­ti­val of Na­tions in June of 2001. It was an­nounced on Fri­day the pop­u­lar com­mu­nity event is go­ing to re­turn this sum­mer.

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