Cartwright Heritage Festival returns
New September date and myriad events bring out crowds despite weather
The Cartwright Heritage Festival back.
The festival, which celebrates the southern Labrador community’s fishing and fur-trading past, took a bit of a hiatus over the past couple of years, at least in part because the timing of previous events in July was not ideal.
Sharon Holwell, the event’s lead organizer, explained that in the summer many people are just too busy, either working at the fish plant, or off at their cabins. And, of course, the flies in July and August can put a damper on just about anything.
However, this past weekend, Sept. 21-23, wall-to-wall events started with a meet-and-greet Friday evening at the school gym.
“It was a really, really fun weekend,” said Holwell, noting its success was due to the work of a “really, really strong committee” with Margaret Holwell, Barbara Holwell, Sandra Dyson, Ola Gatehouse and Priscilla Clark.
“There were lots of people on the go and we made a nice bit of money. We had really strong winds and rain showers, but it didn’t stop people from coming out.”
The meet-and-greet, which had a great turnout, featured a traditional baking competition, skits, singing, raffles and a heritage presentation by school children. Following that, North Side Pub hosted a kitchen party.
On Saturday, the old United Church, which is being converted to a museum, held a “Them Days” walk through. The day was filled with games, competitions, raffles and concession stands – culminating at 4 p.m. with a traditional jigg’s dinner at the parish hall.
The evening was for dancing with a kid’s dance starting at 6 p.m., followed by an adult dance at 10 p.m. The whole thing wrapped up Sunday with a community is church service.
The various events raised over $7,000. One of the main fundraisers was a fish net of remembrance. The net was decorated with Christmas lights and set up on town council grounds. People bought laminated paper fish on which they wrote the name of a loved one who has passed on, thus including former community members in the festivities.
After expenses, Holwell said money raised from the fish net and raffles will be used to enhance community facilities. One priority is a new sound system, which she noted the town will be able to buy with the proceeds.
Holwell gave credit for the success of this year’s festival to a “really, really strong” committee.
“I cannot thank the committee members enough, they went above and beyond for this,” she said.
Holwell said there will be another festival in 2019. It will be up to town council to decide if it will also be in September, but she added it’s likely, given the success this year’s festival.
“I’m sure they will,” she said. “Everyone seemed to think that it was a really good time to have it.”
She thinks next year’s festival will be even bigger and better.
“I do expect more next year when word of mouth gets out that we had such a really good time,” she said.
“It was a really, really fun weekend.” – Sharon Holwell
Margaret Tomashie (left) and Phoebe Davis fry toutons during a Them Days walk-through of the old Cartwright United Church, during the Cartwright Heritage Festival on Sept. 22.
Gladys Hill (left), Margaret Tomashie and Phoebe Davis enjoy a cup of tea during the walk-through of the old Cartwright United Church.