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Canada Day brings big crowds back to celebrate

Story and photos by Sharon Harrison
Wellington was a happy, happy place to be Saturday as crowds gathered in and around the park and the weather brought heat and glorious sunshine. There were no thunderstorms, though predicted, and a slight smoky haze from Quebec wildfires hung over the lake.

Many were dressed in red or white, or both, and were clutching and waving Canadian flags in a magnificent sea of red and white.

Wellington’s favourite Canada Day parade was back (after an extended COVID break), along with a day packed with family fun activities, events, food, musical entertainment and the Wellington Saturday market.

The parade travelled a goodly lengthy of a packed Main Street, beginning at Belleville Street and stretching all the way to Consecon Street to the west.

It brought many of the usual candidates including the pre-requisite marching band courtesy of the Napanee and District Pipe Band, lots of fancy, shiny and very expensive cars, service group representation, and, as no County parade is complete without them, the Cherry Valley Frasers were back in their remarkable vehicle (albeit with a slightly lesser load), and there was even an ‘almost just married’ couple too.

Prince Edward County Mayor Steve Ferguson was spotted in the parade, as was Bay of Quinte MP Ryan Williams. Also observed along the route were Wellington on the Lake Canadian Veterans representatives, the County School of Dance, the Rotary Club of Wellington, Wellington Elks Lodge, Wellington Rescue, the Prince Edward SXS ATV Riders, and riders on horseback.

Whether it was children playing in the adventure playground, those enjoying the lake and the hazy view, the occasion and the atmosphere was a reminder of how community events bring community together, all in the name of fun and enjoyment, and, of course, celebration where a good time appeared to be had by all.

While shade was a hot commodity (almost as much as the ribs served by the Rotary Club of Wellington), the village’s big old trees brought much appreciated shade as folks mingled, as some sat and enjoyed street food, others took in some live music, or just enjoyed the ambience of a typical village Canada Day in Wellington.

Live musical performances ran through the afternoon and included the County Ukulele Band (who made it in the parade too), the Picton Library Orchestra, and A Cappella Quinte, where the latter’s repertoire included a rendition of O Canada, along with other musical favourites.

The Friends of Wellington Library had its usual book sale, Wellington United Church had its famous strawberry social, and St. Andrew’s Anglican Church had a sale of quality bric-a-brac, where nothing was priced, but instead a donation was accepted. They also provided lunch on the shaded lawn.

The CML Snider School lawn was home to Prince Edward Fire and Rescue where kids could take up the junior firefighter challenge course, with activities extending to the parking lot where a number of big fire trucks and other fire vehicles could be explored.

Wellington’s Canada Day festivities are, of course, a two-day event, beginning Friday evening with the well-loved street dance on a closed road by the park. This year, the live musical entertainment was provided by Cue the Funk for those who wanted to dance the night away. Following was a new feature this year with a drone light show on the beach at dusk.

The Canada Day party continued in Picton where activities could be enjoyed Saturday with a main street craft crawl and an all-day sidewalk sale. But if it was music to be had, then Benson Park was the place to all as live entertainment filled the afternoon with Roper and Roper, and the popular Cue the Funk.

Benson Park was also home to a variety of festivities and inflatable and lawn games, and a Canada Day doggie dress-up event.

Ameliasburgh opted to postpone its Canada Day event out of concern for the weather and the smoky atmosphere – to be rescheduled to a later date.

Happy 156th Canada!

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