July 1 is Memorial Day in Newfoundland. We remember the sacrifices made in war and particularly the slaughter of the Newfoundland Regiment at Beaumont-Hamel on July 1, 1916. This was the 100th anniversary of losing a generation of young men.
It is also Canada Day.
Personally, I find the ceremonies of the first designation impact my appreciation of the second. I tried to catch a Cenotaph service on Fogo Island but went to Seldom and found out after that the ceremony was in Joe Batts Arm. I’ll inquire earlier next time. Coming from the ferry, I could not make it to Joe Batts Arm without arrive late.
Canada Day events were easier to locate. Hand-made signs were up in the local shops and stores so we joined others at the stadium for a visit.
We had some Canada Day cake and saw lots of face painting and a few games for kids. A cold wind moved the events from the field into the stadium. A few people had set up tables for baked goods and crafts but there was not a lot of tables. It was also the first day of the food fishery so maybe that impacted on people setting up booths but there were lots of people who came out for the event.
The table featured the usual selection of preserves and knit goods and of course, homemade cookies and fudge. I got off easy with a bottle of Damson jelly and a tray of 5 Star Cookies, sharing a bit of money to each table. Realized after I should have tried the mackerel too.
Local crafters are starting to do nice small souvenir items like Rod Lane’s key chains. Fogo Island souvenirs need to come in all price points for all budgets. These were very reasonably priced.
Marie set up a booth for the event while she was here on holidays. She brought 8 of her mummer friends with her and was down to 2 when we left! They were bigger than the other mummers I have collected and one was a biker mummer! He sold before I got back for a picture.
The great crowd in attendance visited in the middle of the stadium, mostly walking around chatting or getting something to eat from the booth operated by the fire fighters. Kids played games and some even enjoyed the taped music enough for a dance to two. Canada Day outfits were everywhere.
On Saturday, the festivities were in Stag Harbour.
Community festivals are run by volunteers and successful festivals support the community by fund raising for fire departments and community needs. Stag Harbour Day was organized by and to support the Fire Department and the Recreation Committee for the lovely community of Stag Harbour, the first community when you arrive by ferry to Fogo Island.
This was my first time to the Stag Harbour Day event but I’m marking it on the calendar as a regular lunch stop!
In the new community hall, the kitchen was staffed by local Firettes and firemen. The menu was extensive and when we arrive near 1 pm, every seat indoors was full.
People coming from all over the island makes these events successful. Joan even took Max Penney out for lunch but I think that’s because all of her Penney’s Vacation Home rentals were full and she had no time to cook.
People visited between tables and many come home to Stag Harbour for the weekend because they know there’ll be lots of family and friends around. No trouble to find three generations sitting at tables catching up.
In addition to the foods, there were games and a bouncy castle for kids. This would all start up when lunch was slowing as many of the same volunteers might do shifts in the kitchen and shifts on the field.
The kitchen was open for the afternoon and into the supper hours and later in the evening the beer tent and dance took place. I learned the hard way, years ago, that I can’t keep up with the Stag Harbour crowd but when we drove by the next morning, everything was all tidied up and pristine for the building to be used again today as tourist information.
If you are visiting Newfoundland and particularly Fogo Island, watch for signs in the local stores advertising church and community events. These events take a lot of time and effort to organize and besides being important fund raising for vital services, they give a great sense of community.
And no one goes away hungry.
In addition to the volunteers, businesses donated to these events and deserve to be thanked too.