[dropcap]T[/dropcap]The weather was great, the parade was great, the events were great, the whole celebration weekend was great! In a word “great” just about sums up the whole weekend event and the sentiment of all who attended Richmond’s 200th Anniversary Celebration. What a memorable weekend it was!
Following Friday night’s opening ceremonies and a fabulous fireworks display residents were greeted Saturday morning with a brilliant sunny day and a fantastic parade to get the day underway. With over sixty entries in the parade there was a lot to see and do. An air of anticipation could be felt throughout the streets of Richmond.
With a printed program in hand of “keepsake quality” most residents had a plan for the weekend and were ready to celebrate!
Starting at South Carleton High School, travelling north on McBean St. then east on Perth to Huntley Rd. the parade drew large crowds all along the route.
Entrants included the 100th Regiment, the 78th Fraser Highlanders, the 84th Regiment, motor vehicle enthusiasts, politicians, the Fencibles – Fifer & Drummer, the Brockville Infantry, Canadian Voltageurs, the Richmond Nursery School, the Orange Lodge, the Shriners, vintage farm tractors, military equipment, vintage fire trucks, numerous floats, and much, much more.
At the fairgrounds following the parade the Fireman’s annual chicken BBQ, campfire cooked food and all food vendors were very well attended. Whether your tastes went to chicken, pizza, beaver tails, lemonade, fries, ice cream, lemonade or other refreshments it was all there.
All around the site you could witness the activities of soldiers and settlers from days gone by … pipers, drummers and soldiers were all in the bright regimental dress of times past.
Further onto the grounds a military encampment complete with tents, soldiers on parade, womenfolk doing chores and guns being fired added an air of authenticity and historical perspective to the celebrations. The encampment drew the interest of men, women and children alike.
The day was hot and left one imagining just how hot it must have been for soldiers dressed in the authentic woolen uniforms worn year-round in those times. Speaking with one of the soldiers he confessed that it surprisingly was not all that uncomfortable. Apparently the heavy wool had the ability to breathe, releasing moisture while protecting from the heat. In winter the wool insulated sufficiently to keep one warm.
The Richmond Village Association unveiled a 7th mural as part of its’ Heritage Mural Gallery which adorns the exterior walls of the arena. Appropriately, the mural by local artist Karen Xarchos captures Richmond’s bicentennial milestone to a tee.
Quilt shows, art shows, entertainment and refreshment in the “big top tent” and at the arena provided something of interest for everyone.
For the children, the Zorb Balls, climbing wall, and face painting were a huge hit as were the “timeless” activities of bobbing for apples and tug of war. For some of the older children trying the art of arm wrestling led by world champion and local resident Devon Larratt was an unforgettable experience.
Llamas, chainsaw carving and sheep shearing added another dimension of interest especially for the children who got a gift of newly shorn wool and an opportunity to pet the sheep and see her milked. Some were even offered an opportunity to try fresh sheeps milk which elicited loud complaints of “YUK! That’s too dirty … my milk is a lot cleaner than that!” Once the shearing got underway they moved in a lot closer to the action.
Throughout the day, people toured the fairgrounds, watching, observing and participating in the over 70 free events available.
With so many great entertainment offerings there was never a dull moment. Just having a seat and meeting with friends before taking in another event was something happening all around.
Saturday evening at the arena featured a standout capacity crowd event headlining Kelly Prescott, Jason Blain and Mehghan Patrick.
The Goulbourn Township Historical Society (GTHS) provided a popular horse drawn tour of Richmond Heritage as well as a self-guided stroll through historic Richmond. Along the way participants were greeted by GTHS members in period costume and treated to a more in-depth glimpse of the lives of former Richmond residents.
Sunday brought another beautiful sunny day with a gorgeous mourning for the Pancake breakfast at St. John’s Anglican Church and the non-denominational church service at the fairgrounds.
As the day wore on it became very hot and humid thinning the crowd a bit but not their spirits. The children’s events, shows and entertainment went on until closing ceremonies at 4:30 pm.
The organizing committee again wants to recognize and thank all the volunteers and sponsors who helped make this celebration such a success. Without them it would not have happened.
Once the weekend arrived the planning and organizing was all over but not the work of the volunteers. To ensure a safe and fun event for everyone there were volunteers to help whenever and wherever needed. Staff in decorated golf carts and Richmond200 shirts were visible, connected to a command post and ready to assist in any emergency. Everything was so well planned, thought through and implement paid professionals could not have done better.
Happy 200th Richmond!