Tiny town, big bash
An ambitious undertaking that paid off, the Canada 150 Dalkeith Sunflower Festival Saturday was a sensational success with an all-day and and allevening program that included every element of an old-time social and more.
The idea for a big free-admission party to celebrate Canada's 150th was the brainchild of the energetic Dalkeith Historical Society.
In its advertising, the invitation read: “It’s a very tiny town with only 50 houses so you cannot get lost.”
To point people in the right direction, all roads leading to the village were festooned with sunflower displays. The town swelled to ten times its population by the time a full contingent Quigley Highlanders Pipes & Drums led a big float and horse parade down the main street and up to the Robertson-Clark Building where an outdoor stage and beer pavilion had been set up.
Inside, a sunflower-themed art show and an antique wedding gown exhibit were on display. On stage, party band Fridge Full of Empties sounded great, and not far away the kids enjoyed free pony rides, while others saw the talented Costello Irish Dancers. There was much socializing and by suppertime people were ready for the pulled pork supper with the Vankleek Hill Fiddlers at the village’s community hall followed by a kitchen ceilidh.
Among the many imaginative floats in the parade was a scale model replica of a 19th Century pegged crib raft, the kind that transported squared timber down the Ottawa River during the booming timber trade era. The square timber crib was built this Spring by Stanley Fraser of Dalkeith, a history and antique machinery buff. It’s constructed from 8-foot by 8-foot red pine and is much smaller Mr. Fraser explains than the original handhewn 28-foot by 32-foot versions that were flexible enough to crash through rapids and navigate over waterfalls thanks to ironwood pins fastening them together. The famous timber rafts could be up to hundreds of metres across, Mr. Fraser explains, true behemoths made to transport timber downriver where it was finally loaded onto ships destined for British ports.
COLOURFUL ROOTS Celebrating Canada’s 150th and their Dutch ancestry were Iris Clark, of Dalkeith, with her mother, Corry Olsthoorn, and her father, Ben. Rhys Carter, 9, of Hudson, was staying with his grandmother Peggy Phillips who lives outside the...
This little train was a big crowd favourite.
SOLID SOUVENIR: The square timber crib was built by Stanley Fraser of Dalkeith, seen here with Cameron Kennedy from Dunvegan.