Come Home Year is about bringing together a community, instilling pride in one’s roots, as well as meeting old friends and making new ones in a place that is familiar, a place we call “home”.
Over the past few weeks, it was quite evident to see the beautiful Town of Roddickton come to life in preparation for the festivities with banners, flags, flower bins and static displays on lawns as the big day drew nearing. The committee, comprised of dedicated volunteers worked diligently over the last year to make this unforgettable week possible. Laura Rowsell, Committee Chair and her team are true organizers and community leaders. They deserve the utmost praise for their commitment to the community and showing when a few people come together for the common good – all things are possible.
Roddickton Come Home Year had registered more than 1,700 people for the occasion, which more than doubled the Town’s population of 800 plus permanent residents.
It all started this past Monday with a parade. How time certainly flies when you are having fun! I had the pleasure of watching the floats as they crossed roadways in Town for more than hour with the RCMP leading the charge. This massive parade included the Shriners and their mini vehicles, clowns and impressive floats. The parade began with “The Hancocks” and their step back in time display with an old stove baking bread, washing clothes and hanging it out to dry and enjoying a cup of tea in traditional attire. They would later go on to win the $500 prize for best float. The parade also had a uniquely crafted “Lukey’s Boat”, Charlie’s Chili was being served to those watching at roadside, the giant moose with no hunting sign (given Roddickton is known as, “moose capital of the world”) also made an appearance, the recreation committee, local business like Liberty Tax Service and Mayflower Outfitters and many others joined the festivities.
This was followed by the official opening, that had a big crowd piled into the arena for Opening Ceremonies. I brought greetings on behalf of the people in the District and looked forward to the week ahead. It certainly did not disappoint. After a feed of fish cakes at AJs Diner, that evening, I took in the Memorial Tree Lighting Service.
On Tuesday, I arrived for some of the children’s day activities. The arena was a kid’s oasis, with bouncy castles, mascots, painting, cotton candy, games and lots of fun. I enjoyed the afternoon chatting with constituents and had a lovely traditional meal of baked beans, stuffed squid, pea soup, fish n’ brewis and pie with some 500 people at the arena. This was followed by a talent show to my estimation likely drew 1,500 people – filling chairs, bleachers and standing areas. It clearly showed the diverse vocal and musical talents of the local people. The roars and cheers were tremendous.
Wednesday boasted a craft fair, which I purchased a lovely handmade Christmas mummer ornament for my tree with “Roddickton, NL” written on it and a tall mummer with a harmonica. Fitting the day before, I bought a tartan scarf with the whale tail and words Newfoundland & Labrador embroidered. I also spent some time watching the ball hockey tournament at Cloud River Academy before heading into Englee to visit constituents.
Thursday was a Teddy Bear Picnic at the Farm. Weather completely co-operated on this day and I took some time to relax and enjoy the view near the World War II Radar Site on the Farm. If you have not been, I highly recommend the picnic area and day park. It is a great piece of community infrastructure to enjoy. Next there was the duck race at Eastern Brook. It was exiting to see people gather in crowds near the old swimming spot! I then took a tour at Elsie Reid’s, Blast from the Past Walking Trail, which I wrote about previously. I highly recommend seeing it and also purchasing some herbs or other all-natural products. I then toured the White Bay Central Health Centre, Roddickton Fire Department, Cloud River Academy and Green Moose Interpretation Centre.
Friday, proved to be another fabulous day as I visited residents in Bide Arm and watched some of the large-scale 11 team volleyball tournament. This was followed by a grand Christmas Dinner. I attended Gospel Fest that evening and was blown away once again by the local talent, especially Benjamin on the keyboard and the singing of Karla. We even have some very promising youth in the single digits doing solos and performing as a team. The future of music looks quite bright in the Roddickton area.
Today is Lumberjack Day, to recognize the town was built around its rich forestry resources. It is certainly overdue for Government of NL to announce its intentions of the Central Timber allocation to create an opportunity for the Roddickton Pellet Plant to ship in conjunction with an outfit in Central, retain and grow regional employment. We have a rich resource, that can add significant value to the local and international economy. Anything less, is a clear indication the current Governing party has abandoned the Town of Roddickton and surrounding communities, including the businesses that are directly or indirectly linked to the forest industry.
I’m looking forward to the events tomorrow, it should be another fabulous day to clue up a true community success for 2013. There will be memories made that will last a lifetime. I’ve only heard positive remarks from those I have spoken too about their Come Home Year experience. Like your theme, I believe you have “Awaken (Awoke) the Giant”. I commend the volunteers for making this possible and hope they consider hosting another in the next five years. Conche has just hosted their very impressive week of Come Home Year activities and this Monday is also the beginning of Savage Cove Come Home Year!
I encourage other communities to do the same. It brings tremendous benefits to a region and builds community spirit.
Remember those who can – do. Those who do more – volunteer!
Live Rural NL –Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North
- Another Summer of Come Home Year Celebrations (liveruralnl.com)
- Blast from the Past Walking Trail (liveruralnl.com)
- Minister seems to have no plan – what happened to focus on forestry? (christophermitchelmore.com)
- Mat Hooking Exhibition at Englee Worth the Visit (liveruralnl.com)