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The Glengarry News - - The Classiifii­eds -

the first place, has long faded away. Plus, as we Baby Boomers shuf­fle off to the dust heap and Gen­er­a­tions X, Y and Z are in the as­cen­dancy, the no­tion of “war” is an in­creas­ingly tough sell… es­pe­cially as a des­ti­na­tion for a fam­ily out­ing.

That’s why I am propos­ing the event be re­branded as “Life in 1812.” Yes, there would still be a strong part to play for mil­i­tary reen­ac­tors. Mil­i­tary mat­ters were the back­drop of life in Up­per Canada in the early 1800s. But this re­fo­cus would also al­low for other, non­mil­i­tary re-en­ac­tors to join the party… as­sum­ing, of course, such in­di­vid­u­als ex­ist.

I also won­der if there is a les­son to be learned from the 1812 pre­view that was or­ga­nized for lo­cal grade 7 and 8 stu­dents on the Fri­day be­fore this year’s Re-en­act- ment Week­end. All day, vol­un­teer re-en­ac­tors guided the school kids through of a series of clearly de­fined “liv­ing his­tory sta­tions” that of­fered hands-on ac­tiv­i­ties and pre­sen­ta­tions on var­i­ous as­pects of ev­ery­day life in Up­per Canada, circa 1812. I en­vi­sion ex­tend­ing this model to the main event and of­fer­ing vis­i­tors the same type of re-en­ac­tor-led guided tours or, if they pre­fer, self­guided tours.

I know that the com­pe­ti­tion for the public’s free time and dis­pos­able cash is tough (and get­ting fiercer ev­ery year). Nev­er­the­less, by repack­ag­ing the tremen­dous his­tor­i­cal knowl­edge that mil­i­tary and civil­ian re-en­ac­tors have to of­fer, in a way that ap­peals more to to­day’s fam­i­lies, we may be able to en­sure that this unique ‘liv­ing his­tory’ spec­ta­cle is with us for many more years to come.

For­got­ten roots?

As I men­tioned above, there are a grow­ing num­ber of week­end ac­tiv­i­ties com­pet­ing for our at­ten­tion. And, in the in­ter­est of full dis­clo­sure, I ad­mit that my fam­ily did take time away from the 1812 site to visit Beau’s Brew­ery’s Ok­to­ber­fest cel­e­bra­tions in Van­kleek Hill. As a tee­to­taler, I found the ap­peal of an event de­voted al­most ex­clu­sively to the con­sump­tion (and elim­i­na­tion) of beer, a mite te­dious. Nev­er­the­less, I ap­pre­ci­ated the mas­ter­ful way that Beau’s planned and ex­e­cuted the com­plex event. It was truly a lo­gis­ti­cal sym­phony.

The one sour note, from a down-home per­spec­tive, was the sec­ond-class treat­ment af­forded Glen­garry’s Quirky Car­rot restau­rant. For those of you who have never at­tended Ok­to­ber­fest at the VKH fair­grounds, a large block of space is al­lot­ted to well-known res­tau­rants of­fer­ing oom­pahthemed foods… from soft pret­zels and schnitzel to bratwurst and chicken-fried hot­dogs (I agree this last one is a bit of a stretch, but it was de­li­cious). It should be pointed out that aside from Dunn’s Smoked Meat (an­other stretch) from Hawkesbury, the ma­jor­ity of the pri­mary food ven­dors were res­tau­ra­teurs from Ottawa and points west.

Even though the Car­rot’s owner, Ju­lia Graham, had ap­plied for booth space back in Jan­uary, she was not al­lowed to join the big guys in the main food court. In­stead, she was rel­e­gated to an ex­per­i­men­tal back­wa­ter, with no ac­cess to power and for­bid­den to pre­pare hot food. Ju­lia and her team made the best of it, of­fer­ing a de­li­cious se­lec­tion of gourmet sand­wiches and baked goods. But they were ob­vi­ously fight­ing an up­hill bat­tle. By the time vis­i­tors found her tiny booth in the out­field, they were, I sus­pect, full to burst­ing. I’m not even sure Beau’s pro­vided her with a sign, like they did for the other ven­dors.

One rea­son I heard for this treat­ment was that Beau’s has “for­got­ten its roots.” This was sup­ported by anec­do­tal ev­i­dence that calls from lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions from Dun­ve­gan to Alexan­dria were no longer be­ing re­turned. Oth­ers de­fended Beau’s say­ing, if there was an anti-lo­cal bias, it was jus­ti­fied; lo­cals and the mu­nic­i­pal­ity had given the com­pany grief when they pro­posed bring­ing Ok­to­ber­fest to the Hill. The only flaw with this ar­gu­ment is that, ac­cord­ing to my sources, this isn’t the case. Ev­ery year but the very first, the Town­ship has erected Ok­to­ber­fest signs on the lamp­posts in town, in­stalled foun­tains along the town's Main Street and helped in many other ways.

So, rather than “for­get­ting its roots,” I think Beau’s is fo­cus­ing on its pri­mary mar­ket, as any good busi­ness does. And these craft beer afi­ciona­dos re­side, in huge num­bers, in Que­bec, Ottawa, Kingston and Toronto. It’s re­ally a ques­tion of smart mar­ket­ing, the by-prod­uct of which is em­ploy­ment for res­i­dents of Glen­garry and Prescot­tRus­sell. This, of course, is of lit­tle con­so­la­tion to The Quirky Car­rot’s owner, Ju­lia Graham, who I still be­lieve was treated un­fairly. (What is the Dun­ve­gan con­nec­tion here, if any? Ju­lia is mar­ried to Scott Graham who was born and raised in our fair ham­let.)

Con­cert re­hearsal

If you’re won­der­ing what all those cars are do­ing at the DRA Hall on Wed­nes­day nights, it’s Rose­mary Chat­ter­son and her “Mu­sic & May­hem” cast re­hears­ing for Dun­ve­gan’s an­nual Food Bank Christ­mas Con­cert.

Why so soon? Be­cause, only 65 days from to­day the cur­tains go up on a brand new show. Given the tremen­dous suc­cess of last year’s pro­duc­tion, the troupe will be putting on three per­for­mances. There will be two even­ing shows start­ing at 7:30 p.m. — Fri­day, Dec. 2 and Fri­day, Dec. 9. And a mati­nee per­for­mance on Sun­day, Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. The idea be­hind the mati­nee is that a day­time per­for­mance may be eas­ier for se­niors and fam­i­lies to at­tend.

Last year, seat­ing was avail­able on a first-come, first-served ba­sis. This re­sulted in us hav­ing to turn away a num­ber of peo­ple at the door be­cause the Hall was full. To avoid a re­peat, con­cert or­ga­niz­ers will sell ad­vance tick­ets this year. As soon as I have more in­for­ma­tion as to when and where they will go on sale, I’ll post it here. Fin­gers crossed that the scalpers don’t grab them and hold Glen­garry ran­som.

Car­ni­val co­nun­drum

Since we’re al­ready down the “win­ter” rab­bit hole, I’d like to make an ap­peal for help with the Dun­ve­gan Win­ter Car­ni­val at the be­gin­ning of Fe­bru­ary. As loyal car­ni­val go­ers know, one of the high­lights of Dun­ve­gan’s win­ter cel­e­bra­tion are horse-drawn sleigh rides. In the early years, the late John Dash­ney and his team fer­ried Dun­ve­g­an­ites through the snowy woods. How­ever, more re­cently, this task has fallen to the Wensink twins, Sam and Jake and their gen­tle steeds: Sarah and Lim­er­ick. How­ever, as with all good things, the days of Sam and Jake guid­ing our sleigh have drawn to a close. The two young lads have fi­nally re­al­ized their dream of be­com­ing OPP of­fi­cers. As soon as the two broth­ers com­plete their time at the Po­lice Academy, they will be as­signed to posts far from Dun­ve­gan.

This leaves a giant hole to fill. For years, the two sib­lings helped make Car­ni­val Day spe­cial for young and old alike. Their en­gag­ing smiles and friendly man­ner made one and all feel wel­come. And they were al­ways will­ing to go that extra mile to make sure our guests left happy. If one more trip around the trail is what it took, they gladly hollered “Giddy-up.”

So now I need to find a re­place­ment team and sleigh. And this is where I’m ask­ing for YOUR help. If you can think of some­one who might be will­ing to pro­vide sleigh rides at the Dun­ve­gan Car­ni­val, please have them con­tact me or call me with their name and num­ber. Fe­bru­ary will be here sooner than you think and I re­ally need to solve this prob­lem.

Writ­ing work­shop

If you’re read­ing this col­umn on Wed­nes­day — and have dreamed of be­ing a writer — then you may still be able to at­tend the free in­tro­duc­tory work­shop on Creative Writ­ing be­ing held at 7 p.m. tonight in Van­kleek Hill’s Ar­bor Gallery, 36 Home Av­enue. Given by Dun­ve­gan au­thor, play­wright and short story writer Bon­nie Laing, the work­shop is in­tended for those just start­ing to write, as well as those cur­rently writ­ing who may need help hon­ing their skills.

If enough peo­ple are in­ter­ested, Bon­nie will also con­duct a ten­week course on Creative Writ­ing start­ing Oc­to­ber 5. If you miss the work­shop, but are still in­ter­ested in learn­ing more about the course, give Bon­nie a call at 613-525-1455.

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