December 14, 2016
This Tackaberry truck was brilliantly lit as it pulled the ADHS band.. Photo: Sally Smid
Parade of Lights adds festive shimmer
By Sally Smid
The fact that the afternoon snowflakes failed to create any accumulation of holiday snow, the usual Christmas spirit at this year’s Athens Parade of Lights was not diminished. It seems that improved generators, lighting and sound have enhanced the parade over the years and entries included brilliantly lit vehicles and floats that included everything from the Grinch and a Sasquatch to snowmen and of course Santa and his sleigh. Dignitaries included MP Gord Brown, MPP Steve Clark and Mayor Herb Scott and his wife Joyce who led the parade.
Favourites again included Willards’ doughnuts with 1700 being given away to the huge crowds that lined the streets. There were no lack of candies as well. The Lions Steel Band is always a welcome musical addition as was the Gordon Pipe Band from Smiths Falls and the hometown Athens District High School band which was pulled by a brilliantly lit Tackaberry truck.
Pineview Public School provided a large Panther Proud float to support the Save Our School campaign and gave out post cards that could be sent in protest of rural school closures. St. Joseph’s Separate School of Toledo sang “happy birthday to Jesus”. The float featured a large birthday cake which won the school a first place prize for best religious. The Athens Aeros Junior B Hockey players also paraded through the streets and accepted donations for the local food bank as did the Athens Fire Department. Front of Yonge, Augusta and Elizabethtown- Kitley Fire Departments were also valued participants. The ever popular Celtic Grinches also made another lively and fun filled appearance as did lighted walker Barnacle Bill who won first prize for best walker. The Rising Sun Lodge #85 of Athens celebrated their 160th year with their dazzling contribution.
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Keynote Speaker Rebecca Mackenzie with Summit organizer George Horton in Lansdowne. Photo: Catherine Orth
Agriculture summit explores local economy
By Catherine Orth
“Wow what a great turn out!” said Mayor Joe Baptista at the opening of the Agricultural Summit at the community building in Lansdowne on the morning of Friday, December 7. This sentiment was echoed by MPP Steve Clark; MP Gord Brown and special “international dignitary.” US First Assembly Woman of District 116, Addie Russell.
Mayor Baptista, with organizer George Horton, had attended an OFA event on agriculture in Peterborough and came away thinking that it’d be great to bring the agriculture community of The Township of Leeds and The Thousand Islands together in a forum.
The organizers, included: Tom Lynch, Terry Childs, Vicki Leakey, Gerry Last, Kim Goodwin and Katie Nolan. They reached out to the community and invited three successful agricultural entrepreneurs to be part of a panel. They were: Wendy Banks of Wendy’s Mobile Market; Charlie Forman of Forman Farms and Bruce Davis of the Gananoque Brewing Company, chosen for their direct to market approach.
Addie Russell, Assembly Woman of District 116 in the People’s House in the New York Assembly locally know as” The River District” delighted everyone with her presence. She said, “ the whole food agriculture and tourism economy is something that is very near and dear to me.” She is the chair of the Task Force on Food Farm and Nutrition in the State Assembly and got $300,000.00 in funding to allow schools to buy from about a dozen local farmers for school lunches.
Keynote speaker. Rebecca Mackenzie has a long and impressive professional history with the food, agricultural and tourism industry. She discussed her work in supporting the development of local economies through building partnerships and community experiences that showcase “taste of place” She said, “tourist have to eat and they may eat even more than three times a day and if that food and beverage experience that they’ve had, incorporates ingredients from the local destination the impact is far greater than a generic food offering.” She further explained that for every dollar spent by an Ontario tourist there is a three time multiplier effect in the local economy. For every VQA wine or craft beer that is sold there’s 12 dollars per litre impact compared to less than 65 cents on a bottle of imported wine.
The conference continued after with each panelist giving a brief history of their business and how they have gradually built their connections to bring their locally grown or brewed product to market.
An excellent luncheon followed and after the floor was opened to questions and answers. The summit was very successful and organizers were very pleased.
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