Tiny town, big bash

The Glengarry News - - News - BY MAR­GARET CALDBICK

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.

MAR­GARET CALDBICK PHO­TOS

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.

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