Plans in place to host inaugural Mud Fest in Grand Falls-Windsor
If everything goes according to plan, mud will frantically fling from truck, ATV and dirt bike tires in early June in Grand Falls-Windsor.
That was the goal from a meeting at the Mount Peyton Hotel Apr. 2 to discuss the inaugural Mud Fest event, which organizers hope will take place June 6-7 at the site of a future lagoon near Scott Avenue.
The meeting, which was hosted by the town’s development officer, Gary Hennessey, drew just over a dozen people.
However, according to Hennessey, discussions about the event got started long before last week.
“We had some informal discussions over the winter about it, and we got together a few months ago to talk about it more seriously. About three weeks ago we had a small meeting at the Joe Byrne with people who were interested in seeing this come together.”
Hennessey said even though there was just a small group of people at the recent meeting, others have indicated interest and let him know they wouldn’t be able to attend the meeting.
Hennessey seemed optimistic that the event would not only go ahead in June, but that it would also thrive and at least match the Muddin’ Mayhem event that was part of Quad-A-Palooza event in Gander last September.
That was strictly an ATV event and Jamie Marshall, who participated in the Gander event, believes Mud Fest can do a few things differently to separate itself from Muddin’ Mayhem and Quad-A-Palooza.
In fact, Marshall was the person who approached Hennessey about hosting Mud Fest.
“I love the outdoors and wanted to try and get something else going here that would bring people in from the St. John’s area and everywhere across the province.
“We would like to try and expand from just quads, and push it to include trucks and dirt bikes, and add different elements to it.”
Along with including trucks and dirt bikes, other ideas were discussed at the Apr. 2 meeting, including having a dragging competition, strap towing (tug-of-war), and a safety training session.
Hennessey frantically wrote down the ideas as they were being discussed, and believes the proper ingredients are in place to put off one of the dirtiest events central Newfoundland has ever seen.
“We’re looking at this as an annual event. We’re looking at this to compliment the Gander event because Gander’s is in September. We absolutely think there’s room for it and we can showcase the two largest communities in central, and central Newfoundland as a whole.
“We want to put ourselves on the map with Mud Fest as another reason to come to Grand Falls-Windsor.”
He pointed out the town has put itself on the map with the Salmon Festival and he believes it can become renowned with in the same way with the ATV/truck/dirt bike event.
“In the middle of July, all you have to say is ‘Salmon Festival’, and it’s getting to the point where all of Atlantic Canada thinks of Grand Falls-Windsor. At some point - and we’re only in the infancy stages and haven’t even had the event yet - five or six years down the road when you mention Mud Fest, we want people to say they can’t wait to get to Grand Falls-Windsor.”
Marshall and many others hope the event is as successful as Hennessey believes it can be.
In fact, Marshall said it’s entirely possible more people would be attracted to such an event than many people might think.
“I believe we would get more people here for an event like this than you think. It’s going to be a really good event, and something people won’t want to miss. Muddin’ Mayhem in Gander was a really good time ... and I can’t wait for this year, actually, because I’m going back again.”
Organizers of the Grand Falls-Windsor event will have to overcome a few obstacles, but Hennessey doesn’t believe that will stand in their way.
One of the major concerns expressed at the most recent meeting was proper access from local hotels to the site of the event.
Grand Falls-Windsor, unlike Gander, doesn’t have trails that run throughout the entire community. So getting to and from the Mud Fest site on an ATV will be an issue to sort out, Hennessey acknowledged.
“Because of the fact the town is going to take the lead on this, and we control or oversee the infrastructure of the town, we can make things happen that other groups prob- ably couldn’t, and in a quicker way.
“We’ll work with the our municipal police department and the RCMP, and look at ways to develop and design routes around town to get people from point A to point B.
“At the end of the day, we want people coming here, staying here, and spending money here. There’s no point in doing that if you can’t put them here. We’re going to make it happen, and it’s something we don’t think will be a big issue.”
Hennessey planned to follow up with another meeting last week with those who showed interest in the proposed event.
Come June, he hopes the site of the future lagoon, which he estimated to be about eight soccer fields long, will be absolutely plastered in mud.
“I think that site will work. It’s down by the river, which is a bonus because ... Gorge Park is right next to it and Sanger Memorial RV Park is right next to it, so it all compliments each other.
“It’s beautiful scenery, and people can go up in the woods on their quads on a Saturday morning they’re going to see things they haven’t seen before. They’re going to see nature at its best.”
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