Pedalling on by
This year’s parade was full of bicyclers, both young and older, riding on by and wishing everyone a Happy Canada Day. Glover photo
RUSSELL TOWNSHIP – Through a small stint of questionable weather, going from rainy to sunny to even downright chilly at one point over the Canada Day weekend, this year’s Canada Day landed on a day filled with sunshine and clear skies perfect for volleyball tournaments, barbecue and a parade.
“We were certainly lucky with the weather,” said Kathryn Hong, director of the Russell Agriculture Society. “We managed to land on a perfect day for everyone to come out and have a great time.”
While technically, the day started out at 11:30 a.m. with a parade marching down Concession St., the real Canada Day celebrations started a day earlier (Sun., June 30) with the Canada Day Pre-party at the Russell Fairgrounds. People who came out were able to dance to live entertainment by the band, Chicken Fried late into the night.
This was the first time they attempted a pre-party for their Canada Day celebrations and, with it being such a great success, they plan on turning it into an annual tradition.
“We had about 200 people come out for the pre-party,” said Hong. “North Stormont did one and we heard that it was super successful. They reached out to us and told us that we should totally do that, so we decided to take advantage, we did it and it was great.”
On the day of the Canada Day celebrations, residents of Russell Township enjoyed a parade with bikers, horses, kids in red and white paint and even the Giant Tiger mascot waving to the passing crowd. However, while everyone cheered at the festivities, there were a significant number of cars that managed to squeeze into the gaps of the parade. This is something Hong mentioned that they will try to get fixed for next year’s event.
“It’ll probably be a little different next year. It will either be strictly bikes or strictly walkers, just so that we can close those gaps because we’re trying to eliminate any possible interruptions,” she said. “It’s always difficult to get everyone to stay together, you get the gaps and you get cars that sneak in and if something were to tragically go wrong, it can happen, but luckily it didn’t happen for us.”
A popular event that garnered a lot of participation was the volleyball tournament that surpassed expectation on how many teams would sign up.
“It’s difficult because we don’t know how many teams are going to show up, we don’t pre-register,” said Hong. “You come in a little bit before noon, you register your team and we sort of roll with the punches.”
This year’s tournament attracted a total of 10 teams with six players on each team within the first hour of the tournament. The teams weren’t playing for money or trophies, they were playing for something much more important than that – bragging rights.
“It’s just all in good fun,” said Hong.
Other entertainment that was offered to the Russell Township community included bouncy castles and games for the kids, an animal show by The Keepers to show cute and fascinating animals for display and petting, a barbecue and live musical entertainment by the band, Exposure.
While this year’s Russell Canada Day celebrations are considered a success by Hong, she does admit that she would like to see one improvement come next year.
“We definitely need more volunteers. This year we had about 25 to 30 volunteers and that was considered low,” she said. “Everyone is welcome to come out and lend a hand because there is always something to do. I don’t want to give a number because that exact number might come out next year and it might not be enough, so we’ll take as many willing volunteers as we can.”