The Cow Head Heritage Committee is hosting its second annual Fall Fair which proved to be an exceptional success last year to extend the tourism season, which is great for small business owners and families throughout the region.
Last year, I enjoyed the official opening which included the talents of Daniel and Stephanie Payne. I also enjoyed watching the basket weaving workshop performed by Main Brook resident Helga Gillard and moose tufting workshop. There are many talents and community economic development initiatives happening on the Great Northern Peninsula. I commend the sponsors, volunteers, organizers and those who participate in making this annual event a growing success!
Live Rural NL –Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North @MitchelmoreMHA
Gros Morne National Park is a crown jewel of the province, attracting nearly 200,000 visitors annually. This region of the Peninsula has been expanding its products and experiences for the tourism market by extending the season. I had the pleasure to join the beginning with the Trails, Tales and Tunes Festival this past May. It was my second time attending the festival and hear the local talents of Jeff Quilty, Amelia Curran, Sherman Downey, Daniel Payne and many others who came from away, especially the Blue Grass music of the Spinney Brothers. Next year’s schedule will be posted in February at http://www.trailstalestunes.ca/schedule.html. It certainly is the place to be to get an early start on summer fun in Newfoundland & Labrador.
And the season extends into October…
Cow Head is a vibrant community, home to the Gros Morne Theatre Festival and the Dr. Henry Payne Museum. This tiny town has a group of dedicated volunteers that work tirelessly to ensure their Town is a place to visit on the Great Northern Peninsula. The creation of a four-day “Gros Morne Fall Fest and Craft Fair“, stems from the success of a one day craft fair. The festival focuses on traditional skills, craft, music and local culture does exactly that. It attracts people to the region, well beyond the peak of July and August tourism season. It is also an opportunity for locals to get involved, as the busy fishing season winds down.
I attended the official opening on Thursday night with a room of 100 people or more as we celebrated the efforts of all those who made this possible, especially organizer Ms. Glenda Reid-Bavis. This followed a Kitchen Party hosted by local talents, Stephanie Payne and Rob Thorne at the Shallow Bay Motel. The accordions, fiddles and song had everyone enjoying their evening.
On Friday, I also got to talk with the instructors and participants of the Moose Tufting and Basket Weaving Workshops. Maybe next year, I’ll get to participate.
Festivals and community events can be built around local instructors sharing their knowledge and teaching others, as we have such incredible talents and those who want to learn. I encourage other communities to reach out and create unique Fall experiences.
The printed schedule is available at the Shallow Bay Motel and there is still time to take in Traditional NL music, kit making, fiddle workshop, fine dining, silent auction, musical soiree, karaoke, craft fair and gospel concert over today and tomorrow.
This festival is professionally put together by community partners. It is impressive to see what happens when the business, non-profit, non-government agencies, government and volunteers work together to make big things possible in small towns.
The Gros Morne Fall Fest and Craft Fair is just the beginning of many more. So mark your calendars, find out the dates next year when Cow Head will be host again to a flurry of Fall activity.
Live Rural NL –Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North
On August 4, 2011 I visited this Community Museum. It brought me back nearly a decade ago when I first started Flower’s Island Museum in Nameless Cove in July 2002. The old homestead similarly was filled with items of the 19th century and had stories adorning the walls highlighting baking bread, domestic life and past residents that were pillars of the community.
Dr. Henry Payne was a dedicated teacher for 45 years, Justice of the Peace and a field worker for the Co-operative Movement.
Since the 1950s the co-operative movement has continued to grow. Today, it consists of related organizations with significant influence in the agriculture, finance, insurance, fishing, retail and housing industries. Retail co-operatives play significant roles on the Prairies and in Atlantic Canada, according to Canadian Encyclopedia.
Rural Communities were built around the cooperation of its residents. It led to development. We may have to re-visit the co-operative model and consider it for craft retail, tourism marketing, fishery and agricultural sectors on the Great Northern Peninsula.
The Museum has a wealth of artifacts from the past. Entrance is just $3.00 and if under 12 there is no admission fee. The kitchen has the old stove, with flat irons ready to be heated for ironing clothes. In the pantry there was an old water pump in the basin and many old tins and cans, which were former homes for tea, spice, flour and other foodstuffs.
The rocking chair below is a rarity. It certainly is one of a kind and a symbol of the times. This appears to be an old hooping barrel converted into a rocking chair. You may also notice the hinges on the seat. It was also good for storage – maybe the wife’s knitting and wool would be neatly stowed away. Nevertheless, this piece illustrates the ingenuity of a rural Newfoundlander & Labradorian.
Rug Hooking has begun to see a revival on the Great Northern Peninsula. I have seen rug hooking kits for sale at many outlets, the Grenfell Interpretation Centre sells a variety of hooked rugs, the College of the North Atlantic had delivered a Mat Hooking course (which, I enrolled), many rugs were hooked in Englee and Main Brook. This is an excellent opportunity to place your images of Rural Life in an art form. Community-members could come together to form a rug hooking cooperative as was in the past with the Grenfell Foundation. People would send their stockings to the women of Labrador and the Great Northern Peninsula to hook Grenfell Rugs.
The Dr. Henry Payne Museum offers Rug Hooking classes on-site, taught by the multi-talented Glenda Bavis. If you are interested in learning this trade make contact at: 709 243-2466 or
The museum is a rare find with photos, period furniture, artifacts, geology and more. Additionally, a visit to their gift shop is a treasure hunt. They have a little bit of everything from candles, postcards, hand-knit sweaters, pottery, pewter bowls, Dark Tickle products, books, antler buttons, pet rocks, jewellery, music and more. (http://www.cowhead.ca/heritage/)
If you have the time, drop by this museum. They are open until 8:00 PM! The two staffers working we able to answer my questions, as I can be very inquisitive at times. I like playing the role of a tourist even on the Great Northern Peninsula, as it is nice to see the product and service offering others experience when they visit local sites. Great job!
Live Rural NL –
Christopher C. Mitchelmore
- Rural Communities are Stronger Together – Keep Government Accountable (liveruralnl.com)