Sunny smiles and family fun fill Lions’ 49th Haweater Weekend

The annual fireworks display on the Little Current waterfront wowed the crowd with a dazzling display. photo by Michael Erskine

LITTLE CURRENT—A broad smile stretches across the weary face of Little Current Lions Club President Bruce Burnett when asked how this year’s Little Current Lions Club Haweater Weekend celebrations played out. “It was good,” he said. “Very good.”

Lion Burnett praised the volunteers that stepped up to assist in pulling off the wonder that is the annual August long weekend celebration now in its 49th edition. “I don’t know how we could make this work without them,” he said. “Our Lions have all been doing double duty and working their tails off all weekend.”

The once and perhaps future signature event of Haweater has been the Hawfest Dance whose numbers were up significantly this year, noted Lion Burnett, but the Lions have been steadily building a strong family-oriented focus for the weekend in recent years.

New events have come on board, such as the Haweater Paddle Challenge at Low Island that is off to a promising start, meshing well with the tried and true children’s games and musical presentations for young and old alike.

“Splash n Boots were amazing and I have heard great things about Chris McKhool and the Sultans of String,” he said. “The yoga on the docks has been doing great and there were so many great cars on display down at the Cruise In.”

The ball tournament has been a stalwart part of Haweater for many years, noted Lion Burnett. “You couldn’t ask for a better location,” he said. “You can play your game, cool off with a swim and then sit back with a beer, a pop or a water and watch some really good ball.”

This year’s Division A champs were particularly impressive, he noted. The pitcher played through the whole weekend with a broken toe. “Now that is dedication.”

The new dog show event Ultimutts was also an amazing hit, playing to packed houses. “The last show we had standing room only and I understand we also had to turn people away,” said Lion Burnett.

As usual, the annual cardboard boat race, now in its 14th year, packed the shores of Low Island Park with aspiring sailors throwing their hearts into their paddling as parents, grandparents and other spectators cheering the contestants on.

In the business division: Manitoulin Permaculture came first; M.R. Plumbing second; and Jordan Stephens Real Estate third. In the 8-11 division it was Morgan and Lauren with Team Awesome who placed first; Eva and Vivian, the Hippy Chicks, placed second; and third went to Jack and Greyson in the Red Rocket. Jack and Greyson actually crossed the finished line first, but were bumped to third on a technicality—a good reminder to pick up the rules of the cardboard boat race each year, available at The Expositor office. In the 16-plus division, Autumn and Jenna in their vessel Optimal Illusion placed first followed by the HMCS Bottom Dweller IV and John Spanos in second and third was The Tragically Ship, captained by Romula Serino and Tracy Cupido. The S.S. Ice Cream Express by Madison Lennox and Rachel Hull took home the best decorated boat award while pirate Mira Jones and her first mate won the Titanic Award for the most spectacular sinking.

The Haweater Paddle Challenge Open Division was won by Steve Arthurs followed by the team of Mark Gibeault and Heather Pennie. The Youth 6-12 Division was won by the team of Brooke Gibeault and Rhyis Arthurs followed by Whittier Gauthier and John Taggart. The Adult Division saw Robyn McGauley take first in the female category while Chris Taggart took the male category, while in second place was Eric Harper and third was Dale Jordison. “I thought it was a triathlon,” laughed Mr. Jordison, who paddled across the line after a short stint of swimming.

The weather for the 49th Haweater Festival was ideal despite a short threat of rain on Sunday evening, which abated in time to wow the crowd lining the docks in anticipation of the fireworks, which as always, proved to be a spectacular cap to the weekend for many attendees—although the street dance did keep people hopping long after the last bright flash had lit the sky.