One To Remember
Canada Day in Oxford Mills this past week was one to remember. Despite the weather forecast and other last minute obstacles, the organizing committee would not be denied the opportunity to show off their village, Maplewood Park and the hospitality of the great people of Oxford Mills.
All week long the Canada Day weather forecast called for rain with thunderstorms. This didn’t deter organizers and volunteers for one second. The ‘rain or shine’ message rang out and people showed up en masse. The day had a couple of brief showers, but the weather overall was cool and very comfortable.
The guides & scouts started things off by leading everyone to the flag pole by the town hall for the traditional flag raising and singing of ‘Oh Canada’.
As with every Canada Day, the music didn’t disappoint. Fans of bluegrass music were in heaven with County Road 44 and Grenville Grass performing on the ‘North Grenville Business Builders’ stage. Local favourites Fiddlehead Soup were putting their best ‘folk’ foot forward and seemed to energize the crowd. K-Towne Trio and their music brought everyone some nostalgic moments and Gail & Jerry Osbourne kicked the day off right. Special thanks to the sound crew of Phil Morotti and Colin Gerhardt for keeping everyone sounding their best. Thanks also to the Kemptville Farmers’ Market for supplying the tent that kept our musicians both shaded and dry.
Throughout the day there were lots of activities to do and things to see. The English Teachers Federation of Ontario kindly sponsored the ‘Kids Zone’ with Marc Nadeau, Marc Meyer and volunteers keeping the kids busy with several games and even a monster school bus. There were also double the number of vendors compared to last year’s festivities where you could get, among other things: a hot dog, sausage or burger from the Lions Club, crepes from Eric L. of Dial-a-Chef fame and citrus flavoured sodas from Dave Melville. Both Dave and Eric generously donated $1 from each sale to the Oxford Mills Community Association. Inside Maplewood Hall, there was a silent auction with some great prizes (donated by local residents and businesses) which ended up raising over $600 for the community association.
The other entertainment that people look forward to on Canada Day in Oxford Mills is the traditional tug-of-war contests. There were three key contests throughout the day. The first one was between the scouts and the guides, which the guides won easily, thereby retaining bragging rights for a whole year over the scouts. The second was a male versus female battle which the girls/women team won easily. The third and final contest was the one that most people had been waiting for, the annual contest pitting the residents of Oxford Mills against the residents of Bishops Mills. The series between them was tied and this was one going to decide who the superior village was. Both teams filled up with competitors and eventually when everyone got settled, the starter signalled them to begin. It was clearly going to be a very tough match with everyone digging in and anticipating a long difficult. Things were getting very tense for the competitors and the people watching. Then suddenly with the crowd cheering wildly and everyone straining for every inch of ground……the rope broke! Everyone on both sides tumbled backwards like dominoes! After a few minutes of checking on the competitors, thankfully no one was seriously injured except for some painful bumps, bruises and sprains.
The Oxford Mills Community Association was thrilled with the event. They estimate that they were able to raise approximately $1100 to use in their campaign to buy Maplewood Hall from the muncipality of North Grenville. More community events like Canada Day could be possible with a great venue like Maplewood Hall in the hands of the community association, just like the community halls in Burritts Rapids and Bishops Mills.
Thank you to the organizing committee, the vendors, the volunteers, the sponsors and especially the 250 hardy folk who came to Oxford Mills to join in the Canada Day celebrations. All of you (and a rope), in one way or another, made this Canada Day one to remember!