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Old-fashioned celebration honours Cherry Valley history

The man who is said to have named Cherry Valley wandered the Prince Edward County village Saturday morning telling his story. The ‘ghosts’ of Alva Stephens, and his son Richard Stephens helped history come alive during Saturday’s Cherry Jubilee celebrations.
“The name came to me in a dream,” said Alva Stephens, to those on a walking tour. “My family came from Cherry Valley, New York. I was there once and my father said it was the best place on earth. I think this is the best place on earth.”
Children participating in the scavenger hunt were required to find the elder Stephens to ask him why he named the village Cherry Valley and find out his profession.
“I made hats and I owned the ferry,” Stephens told them. “And don’t tell Letitia Youmans who’s also wandering around town today, but I sold a lot of whiskey. But that temperance lady is against it and she’s been mean to me.”
Children also stepped back in time while enjoying old-fashioned games – including bubble blowing, stilt walking, cherry pit spitting and sack races.
Although history books don’t agree on the exact age of Athol Township and Cherry Valley, the recreation committee noted research showed it was safe to say the township was 200 and the Cherry Valley Church is 150 years old.
In honour of the fact there used to be hundreds of cherry trees in the village, Cherryvale Orchards Organic Farm offered cherry trees in one gallon pots at discounted prices. Purchases placed pins on a County map showing where they would be planting the trees and left their email address to receive growing tips and to share the news of their trees’ progress.
The day concluded with an evening dance in the Athol Town Hall with music by local band Little Bluff.

With photos by Cynara Lewis

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  1. Janet Davies says:

    Really nice photos Cynara! Thanks. We had a lot of fun. E.Z. Country South and Lorraine and Jon played all afternoon – and a lot of people stayed the whole time just to listen to them. In the evening, Little Buff were fabulous. We’ll definitely be doing it again. Thanks toeverybody who came out and if you missed it this time, see you next time! Jan Davies (aka Letitia)

  2. Bruce Dowdell says:

    Congratulations to the organizers. It was a fun and informative afternoon.

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