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November 4, 2015



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The cast of the Athens 125 Heritage Gala stand together on stage at the end of the recent Heritage Fashions program at the Joshua Bates Centre in Athens.

Photo: Sally Smid


Athens 125th Anniversary Gala  brings history to life


By Sally Smid

Athens history came to life at the Athens 125 Tea and Fashion Gala on October 17 in the Joshua Bates Center in Athens.  The Athens Museum and Library partnered together to host the event celebrating 125 years since Farmersville’s name changed to Athens. Library chair Julianne McAleese welcomed the almost capacity crowd and thanked everyone for all of their support. There were promotional displays provided by the Museum and Library. A very large variety of silent auction items were available as well, perhaps the most noteworthy was a bat and ball each signed by a Toronto Blue Jay.  Monetary donations were also made.

The Heritage Fashion presentation was narrated by Athens Heritage Chair Kathryn Hudson and included a variety of characters from Athens past.  A group of early school children prompted the audience to note that Athens’s name relates to the number of schools in the village and that it was considered to be a center of learning much like Athens, Greece.  The vintage bathing suit brought some chuckles and the appearance of Caroline La Rose, portrayed by Shelby Buzzell, an Athens 125 kids contest winner, was quite touching. Diane Haskins later commented, “Although I had heard the story of the little girl and her baby sister lost for 5 days on Blue Mountain, this gave me the ideal image. There she was. Now I could truly understand her ordeal!”  It was also interesting to realize how fashion rules have changed from long impractical skirts to uncomfortable corsets.  Pale skin was a symbol of beauty and hats and parasols were important to eliminate any tanning, which was considered to be a sign of a lower class field worker.

Judy Fielding, administrator of the Athens Family Health Team, portrayed Quaker Aunt Sarah Wiltse who helped provide a hospital and who was always ready day or night to help deliver a baby or prepare a body for burial. The most dramatic part of the program was probably Dr. Ben Stobo who portrayed the colourful role of Arza Sherman who was thought to have “healing in his hands”.  “Many wondered if I got my healing power from my long luxuriant hair or from my electric belt,” he quipped. Other tributes included hockey, war veterans, Mother Barnes, Jennie Lamb, Mrs. C. C. Slack, Maude Addison, Scotty MacLean and the Athens Fire Department. The event raised $2,781 which will be divided between the Library and Museum.

“It was a great way to celebrate this milestone, learn more about our local history and bolster community spirit,” one organizer noted. “It was encouraging that so many community businesses and professionals came together to celebrate Athens and support our Library and Museum.”


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Delta miller Chris Wooding fills the season’s final bags of Red Fife flour at the mill as part of the annual Harvest Festival.    Photo: Sally Smid.


Delta Mill celebrates Autumn Harvest


By Sally Smid


Whenever there is an event in Delta it always seems that a large variety of individuals and groups are always ready to help make it a success and this happened again at this year’s Delta Harvest Festival on Oct. 3rd. The sun shone brightly, but the cold wind reminded everyone that it indeed was fall and harvest time. The detailed Event Map made it easy to find all of the many activities taking place throughout the village.  The day began with a Harvest Breakfast and book sale in the Old Town Hall where visitors were later entertained by the music of Fiddler’s Plus.

The Old Stone Mill was open for its last time of the season where there were a variety of vendors and the final milling demonstration for the season by miller Chris Wooding. There were also corn shelling and rope making demonstrations. Blacksmiths Amanda Van Bruggan and Rory MacKay kept busy with demonstrations once again at the forge in the drive shed. 

There were also wagon rides provided and lots of children’s activities at the Recreation Center. The Delta Fire Hall Museum was also open to visitors. A horse draw took place at the fairgrounds. A large variety of vendors were available in the Main Hall there as well.

Sue Thomas was the winner of the best decorated house contest.  The prizes for Adult Bread Making were:

B1 - 100% Whole Wheat Bread - 1st: Margo Sortberg - Elgin

B2 - 60% Whole Wheat Bread - 1st: Margo Sortberg - Elgin

B4 - Rye Bread - 1st: is Pat Newman - Portland

Junior Division awards were won by Heritage Community Christian School students:

J1 - 100% Whole Wheat Bread - 1st: Shelby Buzzell & Kiersten Marx

J2 - Simple Whole Wheat Bread - 1st: Jonathan Van Dodewaard & Aaron Zylstra

Delta United Church sponsored the Harvest Supper in the Old Town Hall. The Harvest Festival Dance followed in the Mall Hall with DJ Jeff Vincent.  This proved to be a great celebration of Autumn and the closing of a busy season.

“It will soon be time to put the Christmas lights in the mill windows,” commented volunteer Anna Greenhorn.


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