Blueberry Fall Festival Draws Huge Crowd
by Barb Fisher
With remaining parking spots in short supply I entered the curling area of the Community Centre and joined the throng of eager folk taking in the many varied kiosks and exhibits showcasing once again what a talented group of people are right here in our and surrounding community. I visited every booth to marvel at all the gifts and services on display and chatted with the crafters displaying their wonderful handiwork. There was an unlimited variety of knitted and crocheted apparel, scarves, mitts, baby sweaters, recycled clothing, kids' novelties, cosmetics and skin products, fingernail care and designs, customized jewelry, sewn housewares, novelty teatowels, soy candles containing a jewelled surprise in each, sewn mittens fashioned from recycled sweaters, uniquely flavoured tea, bath fragrances and soaps, personalized wall hangings and mugs, fashionable leggins, beautifully hand loomed blankets, and our own author Raymond MacDonnell's array of Maggie-Doodle children's books. Many vendors showcased their versatility and added baked goods, preserves and sweet treats to their wares to entice the most hesitant shopper. I was drawn again to Jeanette Pike's display of strawberry jam preserves made solely from wild strawberries and I could sense the satisfaction in her description of her berry picking regime. It takes her three hours to pick four cups of cleaned berries, all done in the bush while enjoying every minute in our wonderful wilderness paradise.
A variety of other displays of interest included: Type 2 diabetes risk warnings offered by the Lady Dunn Health Centre with The North Algoma Diabetes Education Program, Infinity Wellness personal training and lifestyle coaching, Terry Fox run teeshirts to show solidarity in the annual run happening the following day, Lady Dunn Health Foundation selling tickets in support of their latest fund drive, and Wawa Family Health Team with programs aimed at seniors to "Stay on Your Feet".
The Wawa Green Project gave great information at their Energy Booth with the Municipality and EDC collaborating with Algoma Power Inc, Algoma Energy Solutions and Buywise Consulting. EDC reps reminded us all about heat and water saving strategies and offered a free draw for a composter. Algoma Energy Solutions gave information on solar, wind and green energy alternatives that can be employed residentially and commercially. The Buywise Consulting rep gave info on the Home Reno Rebate plan which enables cash back for home improvements that lower energy bills, increase the value of one's home and provides more comfort all year round.
No fall fair would be complete without the fresh vegetable displays. Desbarats Produce from the Soo area displayed a wide variety for sale of almost any vegetable you would want, all grown organically and with no chemicals added. Again I stand in awe of George Karasek who proudly displayed his larger than life vegetables all grown in his own backyard on Broadway Ave. Even though every participant was a winner, in the Veggie Braggin' Rights contest, George placed first with his huge potato, red cabbage and green cabbage weighing in at a whopping 13 lbs. In the most unusually shaped veggie, John Morrison's potato placed first, and the basket of plenty award went to Maria Huard. In the blueberry dessert contest Rebecca Goodmurphy took first with her Blueberry Bombs, and Brycen Roy came in second with his deliciously tasting muffins. The Mustangs girls hockey team again this year challenged an opposing group to beat them in the Pie Eating Contest. This year volunteers from the audience stepped up to the challenge, but by press time I can't seem to get a concensus on the winner. At the Fall Festival everyone is a winner!
There was plenty going on to occupy the kids. Superior Children's Centre Best Start Hub's Robin and Pauline had indoor games and an art and crafts corner set up with face painting by Pauline who never seems to run out of unique designs to camouflage the most spirited of our youngsters. Spilling out on the rear field, Victim Services had the bar-b-que fired up and sold out offering hot dogs to the spectators, and kids lined up to take a chance at laser tag, the climbing wall and a new experience for me to report on, the waxed hand casting process. Children got a chance to stick their hand into molten wax, but not so hot to cause any danger, and then after the applications were complete, the hand cast slipped off to be painted as the child desired. Wow, another novel idea to keep our children abreast of the marvels of our future.
As always a great family exposition such as this Fall Festival cannot be successful without much hard hitting from behind the scenes. Thanks goes out to organizer Nancy Donald, Assistant Chair of Wawa Special Events in conjunction with the Township, and the myriad of volunteers who helped congeal the plan to fruition. Well done everyone.