Last summer was another banner year for Come Home Year Celebrations with the Town of St. Anthony; Town of St. Lunaire-Griquet; Town of Main Brook; Town of Anchor Point and Deadman’s Cove each hosting events for a week or more. This summer, the Town of Conche kicked off celebrations on July 25th. On August 5th the Town of Roddickton will be holding a week of activities, followed on August 12th by the Savage Cove Come Home Year.
One thing about Come Home Year celebrations, they are incredible social and economic contributors to the province and region. These locally organized events are helping to drive the Province’s tourism industry, that reached more than $1 Billion in 2012. The number of travelers by Marine Atlantic, Deer Lake Regional Airport or personal automobile is in the thousands when you total up all the homecomers. Local businesses, such as gas stations, hotels, restaurants, grocery stores and retail outlets benefit from the influx of guests. In addition, hardware and furniture stores also see additional business because of renovations to one’s property whether in the form of flower bins, flooring or a new bed.
These celebrations instill great pride in the community of which you live, lived, have roots or a some other connection. They are pulled off by dynamic community leaders, who tirelessly commit hours of preparation time, make difficult decisions and spend every waking hour ensuring that everyone is enjoying the festivities. These individuals, who undertake such a big initiative are truly to be commended for all your hard work and efforts.
I had the pleasure to take in the Parade and Opening Ceremonies of the Conche Come Home Year this past week. A long line of vehicles covered every roadway, including Crouse to turnaround. This was likely a record for the number of vehicles there in such a short time span. After the parade, there were greetings by brought by the Deputy Mayor, Committee, myself and others. Conche’s own Clara Genge sang a song she wrote called “Northern Beauty” and local legend Danny Carroll belted out a tune or two. After the opening, one could get your memorabilia. I bought some placemats, mug, shot glass, Clara Genge CD, Apricot jam, Christmas ornament, Do Unto Others – Dower of Conche and a number of pieces of jewelry from Youth Ventures participant, Shelby. It is great to support local artisans.
Although weather did not co-operate well with the Conchers, they took it all in stride and re-scheduled several events. NDP Leader Lorraine Michael and I had the opportunity to take in some of the softball tournament, chat with locals and watch people get dunked. The variety show was a great mix of song, dance, recitations, and skits that displayed the abundance of local talent that exists in Conche. It was a fabulous week and enjoy taking in many of the events. The committee deserves a big bouquet. Now tomorrow, begins Roddickton CHY. I look forward to a follow-up posting.
Come Home Year celebrations can also bring people back, as the atmosphere creates that desire to be home, that renewed drive to retire or plan more frequent visits to the family homestead. In fact, it had that effect on me. It was during a week-long Come Home Year Celebration in my hometown of Green Island Cove in 2009 that I decided to quite my job working for a Professional Association in Alberta and move back home at the earliest possible convenience. It was just three weeks later and I began my cross Canada tour with all my belongings packed strategically in my little Honda Civic. I’ll have to save that experience for another posting.
I started work in Community Economic and Business Development with CBDC Nortip and worked there for two years, before being elected to the House of Assembly as the member for The Straits-White Bay North under the New Democratic Party banner. As you can see, that decision has dramatically changed my life, but I would never look back. Being a politician is no walk in the park, but in my role, I see good things happening all around me. I encourage the people of the District to continue to work together, plan community and regional events and let us work together to ensure we are building resilient and vibrant communities.
Live Rural NL –Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North
- French Shore Historical Society adds vibrancy to Conche (liveruralnl.com)
- A Few Snaps of “the Beauty Spot of the North” (liveruralnl.com)
- Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA District Newsletter #5 Summer 2013 (christophermitchelmore.com)
- Live Rural Newfoundland & Labrador celebrates 3rd Anniversary (liveruralnl.com)