RECAP: Goulais River Community Days 2015

Goulais River, Ontario – Jeff Klassen of has written a great recap from the Community Days Weekend which was held on July 10-12th.  Check out his pictures and article here.

You can also read Jeff’s article below but remember to click on the link to his article to see the pictures from the day.

Goulais River held its annual Community Days festival over the weekend with a ‘Hillbilly’ theme. 

The festival, celebrating its 39th year, included fireworks on Friday night, a parade and music on Saturday and many other events and activities throughout the weekend 

At 10 a.m. on Saturday, the parade started off from Anglican Church Road and travelled down Highway 552. 

Floats, set up by local businesses and individuals, went with the event theme and were decorated in outhouses, toilet seats, hay, farmer’s hats, and other items in the “Hill-Billy” motif.  

The weather was warm and sunny for the many families sitting at the ends of their driveways and lined up on the street waving and catching candy from the floats that continued down the highway until ending at the Captain Tilley Community Centre & Park where the festivities continued. 

Organizer Kelly L’Heureux said the turnout was “amazing” this year. 

Many attendees, including local resident Victor Whalen and MPP Michael Mantha, agreed that the parade’s charm was that many floats had a special “homemade” feel exemplified by floats with wooden constructions, duct-tape, and odds and ends pasted and dangling about. 

After the parade, the crowds poured into the Community Centre Arena to eat food and listen to music while a baseball tournament and outdoor activities happened on the surrounding fields. 

The festivities were put on by Goulais Area Recreation and also included frog racing, the Goulais Fire Fighters Kids’ Foam Bath, Horseshoe Tossing, Balloon animals, face painting and a train ride for children.

During award presentations, L’Heureux received the April Brydges-Hopkin Memorial Award for Volunteer of the Year, Soo Septic Services Ltd received the Dave Fleury Memorial Award for Long-time Service in the Community, and Hubert Perreault received the Senior of the Year award. 

Soo Mill’s 100th anniversary was commemorated with a cake, a commemorative plaque, and red helium balloons that said ‘Soo Mill 100 Years’ hung everywhere, occasionally floating up into the ceiling. 

Politicians in attendance were Mantha, MP Bryan Hayes, Liberal federal candidate Terry Sheehan, and NDP federal candidate Skip Morrison. 

2015 was the first time Goulais Area Recreation held a fiddle contest, which was won by Connie Irwin. 

The contest ran short of the allotted time so old-time local musicians (who were almost as old as Soo Mill – ranging from ages 68 to 93) decided to have an impromptu performance of rotating players. 

Singer Evelyn Richards, age 92, surprised the festival when she took the stage and performed “Honky Tonk Angel.” 

Richards husband, Raymond, celebrated his 98th birthday at the event. 

The couple have been married for 73 years and first met in Goulais River when they were teenagers. 

The jam-vibe continued on as local band 17 North finished off the afternoon’s music with the other musicians accompanying them on stage. 

Renowned local musician Fred Kent judged the fiddle contest, and, because of the event theme, members from the Goulais River Shovel Band (featuring Doc Defiddler, age 81, and Wabash Cannonball, age 79) reunited with their electric-instruments made out of shovels. 

“It’s just amazing,” said L’Heureux, “these guys are legends.”  

Ronda Bailey, organizer with Goulais Area Recreation, said she was “hoping” the fiddle contest grows into an annual tradition.

In the hot afternoon many locals left the event to swim and cool off in the Goulais River across the street from the Community Centre. 

Saturday night ended with partying and music by local band Thin Ice.

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