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February 3, 2016

 

EVENTS

Athens Bonfire 2016 1.jpg

 

A large crowd gathers around the annual Athens bonfire which is reflected in surrounding pools of water. The annual event took place on January 9 despite mild conditions and rainy weather.    Photo: Sally Smid

 

Bonfire lights up evening

By Sally Smid

The word bonfire is believed to be derived from "bone fire" derived from a Celtic festival where bones from a year of butchered animals were burned to ward off evil spirits. On the contrary, the 32nd Athens Community Bonfire was once again a time for a light hearted spirit of celebration as a crowd of 1000 people from the area joined together in Centennial Park awaiting the lighting of the large pile of Christmas trees. 

This year's bonfire planned for January 9 was in jeopardy as the local Athens Fire Department struggled to find enough trees. "We didn't know if it would take place this year," commented Darlene Noonan, Township administrator.  "Many dealers who supply unused trees were sold out this year," remarked fire department organizer Art Lester.  Many had gone off to chippers.  Trees had to be retrieved from the local dump. Then there was the Finucan family from North Augusta who brought along their own tree to add to the bonfire as they did not have a pick-up like Athens Township residents. There was also a threat of rain and warmer temperatures. This year the snowmobiles could not be used in the lighting process which was a disappointment to many are snowmobilers who drive in for the traditional event. The Athens Snowmobile Club decided to carry in torches to light the fire which was also had a dramatic effect. 

After a free hour of skating and hot chocolate donated by the Township as well as horse drawn wagon rides provided by John Male, the anticipation mounted as the large crowd watched the torch bearers march into the park.  The climax of the evening was the lighting of the bonfire. The crowds cheered as flames leaped into the sky and sparks showered down as the glowing inferno reflected in the surrounding pools of water.

The Fire Department was present to ensure safety.  "Athens firemen worked hard again this year to help collect trees and prepare the bonfire," reported Fire Chief Charlie Smid.  They also helped with the hot chocolate in the canteen.

Crowds remained longer to visit in the warmer temperatures.

 

Athens Bonfire 2016 - 3.jpg

 

Fireman Philip Vanderlinden of the Athens Fire Department assisted at the recent Athens Bonfire.     Photo: Sally Smid

 

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Storyfest Accessible Wildness - photo.jpg

 

Storyfest explores accessible wilderness

 

Directors of the Seeley’s Bay Area Residents’ Association (SBARA), unless otherwise noted, (L-R) Peggy Sweet-McCumber, Gary Running, Liz Huff, Cindy Simpson, Mary Anne Jackson, James Raffan (Key note speaker), Don Ross (guest speaker, Frontenac Arch Biosphere Network), Haoqing Wang (visiting Chinese student staying in Seeley’s Bay), Brent Eamon, Dan Langham (Chairman, SBARA) and Carole Falkner, gather at Storyfest in Lyndhurst.    Photo: Susan Janus

 

Read the story on page1 

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The Mural

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