Harbour Days celebrations enjoyed by smiling crowds

The father-son team of Nevin and Joseph Merrylees took first place in the Cardboard Boat Regatta in the Open division, in their cardboard boat ‘Goin Fishin.’ The event was held as part of the Gore Bay Harbour Days celebration.

GORE BAY – The eighth annual Gore Bay Harbour Days celebrations certainly packed a whole lot of fun for all members of the family to see and take part in this past weekend.

There were hundreds of people around to enjoy the festivities and more than plenty to do, starting Friday morning with the Gore Bay Farmers’ Market on the waterfront. 

At high noon Friday, kids of all ages took part in the river tube races and inflatable dinghy races. First came the river tube races, and in the age 12 and under division Aaron Fraser took top spot with Eva Fraser second and Miles Soligo third. In the 12 and over division Ethan Handy took top spot with Dustin Fraser and Damon Fraser in second and third, respectively.

The dinghy races were then held at the waterfront beach and in the 12 and under category, the Fraser family, including Logan, Aaron and Eva, took first to third, respectively. Meanwhile, in the 12 and over division, Avery Nodecker was first, followed by Cathy Fraser and Pierre Ducharme.

One of the more unique events of Harbour Days was the Reptillia company representative putting on an entertaining show featuring an assortment of scaly and fantastic creatures. The tent on the waterfront was full as kids and adults were entertained by Monty the Ball Python snake, Mathilda, a Russian tortoise, a lizard and other creatures.

The community garden out on Highway 540 just outside of Gore Bay was the scene of a community garden where visitors could enjoy delicious garden refreshments, join in garden activities and crafts, enjoy local music and tour the community garden. 

In the evening, the Gore Bay Theatre put on its production of Laughter is the Best Medicine, meanwhile at the tent on the waterfront the Gore Bay-Western Manitoulin Lions Club hosted a beer garden, featuring live music of the band Missy and The Speed Wobbles. An outdoor movie was held at the Splash Pad Park, sponsored by Finnia Chocolate.

While the weather was very hot and sunny all day Friday, the same couldn’t be said of Saturday. The rain pelted Harbour Days celebrators several times over the course of the day, but it didn’t dampen the spirit of the large crowd on hand for all the festivities.

Despite inclement weather at the start, the Gore Bay Rotary Club pancake breakfast was a huge hit, with about 135 hungry patrons enjoying the breakfast. 

If you like fly-boarding and water skiing, the Summer Water Sports Travelling Ski Show and Flyboarding skills demonstration was, in a word, fantastic.

Chantal, Gladu a true artist, provided the opportunity for kids of all ages to get their faces painted at the waterfront tent from mid-morning to mid-afternoon. 

Amazing magician Stefano Presenza had everyone spellbound with his amazing interactive Vegas-style demonstration and tricks. 

Two performers proudly hold up Canadian flags as part of their performance at the Summer Water Sports Travelling Ski Show.

The appropriately-named ‘It’s Not a Party Without Us’ was at the waterfront with its Radical Rush Mega Obstacle Course, Balloon Typhoon, Surf the Wave Slip and Slide, Foam Pool Party and candy stand-keeping kids entertained and refreshed. 

For lunch, hungry patrons could enjoy the Gore Bay-Western Manitoulin Lions Club’s famous  beef on a bun, hot dogs and beverages. 

The dunk tank was also a very popular spot with Gore Bay Mayor Dan Osborne, Councillor Kevin Woestenenk, Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha, Ontario Provincial Police Officers Steve Redmond, Daryl Leighton and John Robertson all allowing themselves to be dunked by patrons. Arguably the most popular event at Harbour Days every year (judging by the enormous crowds and participants), the annual Cardboard Boat Regatta Races were once again a huge hit. In the youth division race, Grayson Orford in the ‘Racing Grayson’ cardboard boat took first place, with ‘The Three Brothers’ team of Miles, Jackson and Sam second and the boat ‘The Flash’ crafted by Logan, Aaron and Chase taking third place. 

Monty, a python snake being held by a trainer from Reptillia, was a huge hit with kids of all age at the Gore Bay Harbour Days celebration.

In the family category (at least one child 12 and under and one adult), Joseph and Nevin Merrylees in their boat ‘Goin’ Fishin’ took first place, with ‘Blazer,’ operated by Kathy, Rogan and Aaron Fraser in second and the boat ‘Flash’ crafted by Fraser Addison and Lindsay finishing third. All prizes in the youth and family categories were sponsored by D.H. Electrical.

In the open division, the grand prize for first place ($500 in cash sponsored by Bousquet Realty) went to Nevin and Joseph Merrylees, in ‘Goin Fishin.’

Live music was provided all afternoon by musicians such as Peter Nelson and friend on drums at the beer gardens. 

The Gore Bay and Gordon/Barrie Island Fire Department had on hand their fire truck, and children had the opportunity to climb behind the wheel of the fire truck. 

If fishing was your fancy, the Gore Bay Fish and Game Club held its annual swimming pool fishing event with many fish, provided by Meeker’s Aquaculture, being caught by youngsters throughout the afternoon.

And there was a huge turnout of about 425 hungry patrons who enjoyed the Gore Bay Rotary Club’s all-you-can-eat fish fry at dinnertime. 

A Harbour Days dance with the music of the Dave Southwood Band was held at the waterfront tent and the beer gardens were provided by the Lions Club.

The weekend’s events concluded on Sunday morning as an Ecumenical Church service was held under the tent on the waterfront.