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Art, Craft & Culture Thrives on the Great Northern Peninsula

A craft fair in St. Anthony yesterday, hosted by the St. Anthony Come Home Year Committee attracted artisans and craft producers from all across the Great Northern Peninsula. More than two dozen tables were filled with such a diverse array of product, it reinvigorated my belief that we could have a thriving craft industry, artisan studios like the Quidi Vidi Plantation of St. John’s or those on Fogo Island.

The Grenfell Heritage Shoppe at the Grenfell Historic Properties is the perfect anchor, with 8,000 visitors annually, they would be the ideal location to purchase from these local craftspeople and artists. Their Brown Cottage at the corner of their parking lot can be converted into a multitude of artist studios, just like mentioned above to provide space and an outlet for these craftspeople to grow, produce and share knowledge with each other.

One of the last tables I visited was Lott and Christina’s Driftwood Creations. I was just taken away by each unique piece of art. Christina was very passionate about her creations, telling me that the wood was collected on family outings combing the beach, some of it close to where I live. The story and connection added to the beauty of the one of a kind art. I also loved the professional tagging and a focus on Made in Newfoundland, highlighting St. Anthony on the map. These are the types of things that certainly add value to the buyer. I’m quite proud of this piece, “Some Day on Clothes” and will proudly hang it for many to gaze at something quintessentially “Rural Newfoundland & Labrador”.

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Driftwood Creations has their own Facebook Page offering unique Handcrafted Home Decor made from driftwood found on beaches of Newfoundland. They also make pine furniture made with a rustic country style. They can be reached at 454-3402.

Loving Stuff is handcrafted by Heber and Loretta Hussy of St. Anthony. I was fortunate enough to purchase her product before at the 2012 St. Anthony Come Home Year craft fair. There I got myself the last four remaining mummers, this year I manage to get several more to add to my collection and some on my Christmas list may be also receive one as well!

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After 5 years of co-founding and organizing the Mummer’s Walk in the Straits on the Great Northern Peninsula, people know I love mummers and the concept of what mummering or jannying as we use to call it means to those who grew up in outport or rural Newfoundland and Labrador. I love how Loretta and Heber capture them in such a traditional way! Her product is also tagged professionally and has a story explaining what mummering is all about. I could not resist purchasing the pair of child’s hide slippers. Lot’s of my friends seem to be having babies these days! You can reach Loving Stuff at 454-3513.

Shirley and Doug Mills are quite the team in their craft production, which was exhibited at yesterday’s fair when those who wanted ornaments with their names on them, Shirley called on Doug to handle that task. The array of product Shirley makes is phenomenal, which seal skin has taken a focus.

She makes guitar straps, strap purses, coin purses, boot cuffs, slippers, mittens, earrings, bracelets and now mummers and Christmas ornaments, which I think are totally brilliant.

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Her jewelry and some of these items can be found at the Grenfell Heritage Shoppe, St. Anthony. I can’t wait to hang these incredibly ornaments on my Christmas tree :).

There are so many artisans and craft production on display, from handmade quilts, Minion slippers, Bruce Pilgrim’s Prints, framed Art, Frank Walter’s magnets & prints, Colleen Loder’s iceberg art and ugly sticks, carvings, Carol Roberts’ hand painted rocks, felting and ornaments, original paintings, face painting, knitting items, baked beans, homemade pies and so much more.

It is evident art, craft and culture thrives on the Great Northern Peninsula! I encourage you to support out local artists and craft producers. I want to thank the St. Anthony Come Home Year committee for organizing and providing a venue for these local craft producers and artists an outlet to sell their product and services. We need more space and opportunities throughout the year. Let’s keep making big things happen in small communities!

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

Christmas Parades on Great Northern Peninsula Exude Community Spirit

The month of December marks a number of community events from Christmas concerts, annual award nights, church functions, tree lighting, breakfast/brunch, socials, appreciation dinners, Santa visits, dances, hockey tournaments and of course the Christmas parade. On the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula there is so much activity. It shows signs of an active volunteer base, supporting strong, vibrant communities as each place offers something unique to bring together residents to enjoy a sense of community, a sense of involvement and just exudes the spirit of Christmas.

I plan to focus, primarily on parades given they were hosted in St. Anthony, St. Lunaire-Griquet, Flower’s Cove, Conche, Englee, Main Brook, Roddickton, Bide Arm, L’Anse aux Meadows, Hay Cove, Noddy Bay, Straitsview, Savage Cove and Anchor Point.

St. Anthony (December 13th)

St. Lunaire-Griquet (December 13th) – Held on December 20th, 2014

Weather postponed the St. Lunaire-Griquet Christmas parade and the event was held the following Saturday and I was unable to attend. If there are people who have photos this parade and are willing to share, please email mitchelmorec@hotmail.com.

Flower’s Cove (December 13th) – Held on December 14th, 2014 which enabled me to attend.

Conche (December 19th, 2014)

Englee (December 19th, 2014) – Held on December 22nd, 2014

This event was originally scheduled for December 19th, but weather greatly impacted the viability of a successful parade. The event was held on Monday, December 22nd and I was unable to attend. If anyone has a few photos they would like to share, please send to mitchelmorec@hotmail.com.

Main Brook (December 20, 2014)

Roddickton-Bide Arm (December 20, 2014)

L’Anse aux Meadows, Hay Cove, Noddy Bay, Straitsview (December 20th, 2014)

If anyone has photos of this event and would like to share, please send to mitchelmorec@hotmail.com. I had committed to attending the Roddickton-Bide Arm parade several weeks in advance.

Savage Cove Christmas Parade (December 21st, 2014)

Town of Anchor Point Christmas Parade (December 23rd, 2014)

There was much time, organization and volunteer efforts put forward by many community leaders, business and residents to ensure these Christmas parades and a host of other activities were successfully held on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula, some for 50 years. The people of the Peninsula continue to make big things happen in small communities!

Let’s keep building in 2015!

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

For the Love of Jannying – Mummer Memorabilia for the Holidays!

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Most readers know by now I have an exquisite love and passion for the tradition of mummering or as we always called it growing up – jannying. I continue the tradition each year, as well with a friend co-organized for five consecutive years a mummer’s walk in the Straits.

I have numerous mummer ornaments that include those handmade hooked-mat ones, clay to those store coming from St. Anthony, Roddickton-Bide Arm, Woody Point, King’s Point, Lord’s Cove, Flower’s Cove and places in between. I would like to see Glacier Glass of Englee, NL produce specialty “Mummer Pieces” for this years holiday season.

I’ve seen more locally produced Mummer memorabilia, but they too compete with mass produced products from China. I much prefer my crybaby size mummer doll made in Roddickton-Bide Arm or the four mummers with the knitted sweaters I bought at St. Anthony Come Home Year 2012, which were made in Goose Cove. It is also where I got my miniature ugly stick too!

I love my new mummer’s stein, which makes a happy pair if one wanted to have a drink of ale with a friend. The charms are a nice compliment when sharing a glass of wine or hosting a tasting. My new ornaments from this Christmas are hung on my tree, the Simini singing ornament, granny, the old stove and the checkered top hat mummer playing the fiddle. I really love that one! Finally, one can curl up to the cozy traditions of a throw that depicts the unique sounds of Newfoundland & Labrador. It truly is part of any band of mummer’s attire, an accordion, fiddle, ugly stick and a set of spoons.

Thank you to all for the lovely gifts, they had added to my traditional Newfoundland & Labrador Christmas tree and made the spirit of Christmas mummering that much more enjoyable!

Let’s keep celebrating traditions that have lasted through the centuries.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

Annual Straits Mummer’s Walk Celebrated 5 Years in Sandy Cove

The Straits Mummer’s Walk started in 2010, when my friend Sabrina and I talked about how much we loved mummering and how the tradition was losing ground since when we were teenagers. She proposed a walk and we began the organization that December and chose the 29th as the official day of the mummer. The event was planned for our administrative hub in Flower’s Cove. We were greatly impressed that 20 people had the interest on a bitterly cold December day to parade around the Town.

Guess Who?

Guess Who?

Our goal always has been to increase awareness and encourage more mummering at the households. In 2011, at Anchor Point two mummer’s joined us from Switzerland and Germany to learn the art of Christmas mummering. We also visited many households in Green Island Cove that year.

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In 2012, Savage Cove produced the greatest number of mummers at 44. We were very pleased to see so many younger jannies participate. It was on a Saturday, but still bitterly cold.

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In 2013, Green Island Cove was our venue with a crowd of jannies joining us from St. Lunaire-Griquet to bring our tally to 40. It was a very cold day, so we had a short parade route just using the lower road. It was quit the sight the community had not seen in years.

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This year, the event was held in Sandy Cove on a Monday and brought out 30 mummers, one as far as Port Saunders. There were big ones and small ones and talls ones and thin. A truly wonderful collection of dress, demeanor and age groups. There are some mummers that come every year and always new ones. I love the influx of new mummers, when an event is held in their own community, but the regional spirit by having those of surrounding communities join in to make the event an even larger success.

A couple of tunes were played by Wilga Hughes of Green Island Brook from his accordion and the mummers danced. Then we all marched off to the church and returned to the Lion’s Club. The RCMP and Straits Fire Department were on the scene to ensure safety of our participants. I am very thankful to those volunteers who gave freely of their time for the Mummer’s Walk. After a return to the Lion’s Club, we had Purity Syrup, Hot Chocolate and a few treats. Prizes were drawn and a little music played. Everyone was in the spirit and a number of people went door-to-door mummering that night, at least that is what my Facebook feed had indicated as dozens of mummer’s have been popping up in communities from Anchor Point to Flower’s Cove to Sandy Cove to Green Island Brook and as far as Ship Cove and many places in between. It is exciting to see a resurgence and pride placed in keeping this Christmas tradition alive and well.

In recent years, I have seen more interest in the tradition from dances, more local visits and more memorabilia produced. Also this year, I was interviewed by Folklorist Dale Jarvis and photos and pieces of my contribution made print in the book, “Any Mummer’s ‘lowed in?” I encourage people to get a copy and give it a read, there is lots of talk of the Northern Peninsula Mummers or Jannies.

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I look forward to getting better from this Christmas cold, so I too can join my friends and band about and visit in disguise before Old Christmas Night. I look forward to seeing the Jannies. Come one, come all!

Here is a link to our local paper the Northern Pen – Mummer’s on Parade: http://www.northernpen.ca/News/Local/2014-12-29/article-3991416/Mummers-on-parade/1

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

Mummer’s Walk to Celebrate Milestone – 5 Years on December 29th

The Mummer’s Walk on the Great Northern Peninsula all started when two friends shared a conversation about their love for the tradition of mummering. The event was to be regionally focused, bringing together people from many communities to teach the younger generation a rural tradition cherished by those of our grandparents.

The first event started in Flower’s Cove (2010), then Anchor Point (2011), Savage Cove (2012), Green Island Cove (2013) and this year’s event will be in Sandy Cove. People will congregate at the Sandy Cove Lion’s Club anytime after 2 PM for the rig-up and the walk will begin at 2:30 PM. If past years are any indicator, it likely will be cold and may result in a shorter parade route. Festivities will continue after the walk at the Lion’s Club. This event is opened to all ages and everyone is invited to attend.

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Let’s celebrate Mummering and make December 29th as the official day of the Mummer!

Live Rural NL,

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA for The Straits-White Bay North

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