HAPPY BIRTHDAY BOTWOOD!

Town ends 10 days of celebration on high note

Sue Hickey editor@atlanticfarmfocus.ca
Published on August 5, 2010
One of the youngest to ride along on a float during the Botwood Day parade Monday morning was 10-month-old Zachary Hancock. While other kids may have found the sounds of the parade a bit mesmerizing and distracting, this little boy was eager to join in on the fun. For more photos of Botwood’s celebration of 150 years, see page 5 of today’s Advertiser.

“Successful” is probably the most suitable word to use in relation to Botwood’s celebrations of its milestone anniversary and Come Home Year events. But that’s not the only word that people have been using to describe the town’s collaborative efforts to pull off such a major celebration.

“Successful” is probably the most suitable word to use in relation to Botwood’s celebrations of its milestone anniversary and Come Home Year events.

But that’s not the only word that people have been using to describe the town’s collaborative efforts to pull off such a major celebration.

 “It’s overwhelming, how many people have taken part, and volunteering. It’s a community effort and everyone is putting every effort into it.”

Those were the words of one volunteer, Botwood resident Bill Chaytor, who was driving a decked-out pickup truck sporting Royal Canadian Legion banners – as used in presentations for their colour party – to help out the Botwood branch of the Legion during the Botwood Day parade on Monday.

Mr. Chaytor is not a veteran, but he wanted to give the organization a hand anyway.

The parade was among the highlights of the 10-day stretch of festivities combining Botwood’s regular civic celebrations,  marking Come Home Year events, the town’s 150th anniversary and 50 years of incorporation.

That’s a lot to celebrate, but the combination of volunteers from all walks of life, from church and service groups to government employees, schools and committed individuals – and the talents all of these people brought along – made for a heady celebration of civic pride, culture and history.

The politicians representing the region had no hesitation in sharing Botwood’s moment in the sun.

“It’s overwhelming, how many people have taken part, and volunteering. It’s a community effort and everyone is putting every effort into it.” Bill Chaytor

“I was honoured, because this has been a long time coming,” said Scott Simms, the MP for Bonavista-Gander-Grand Falls-Windsor, the riding in which Botwood is included. “I remember dealing with the committee, when they wanted the initial funding through federal resources, and they were successful.

“But when you see this happening, this Come Home Year, I’ve discovered a new phenomenon. Come Home Year has become a new phenomenon. I’ve got four in my riding, Joe Batts Arm, Bonavista, Champneys West, and the biggest one, which is Botwood.”

When he goes to such meetings, the MP often asks people where they are from. They are usually “from away,” he said.

“I would encourage any town to have a Come Home Year,” he added. “I think in the case of Botwood, this is one of the best run, best organized events I’ve ever seen since I’ve been elected.”

He said the strength of the community is evident in the volunteers who got involved and inspired others to do the same.

“The events are awesome,” said Botwood expatriate Joanne Peyton, who now works in Fort MacMurray. “I’ve seen so many people, and had so much fun, it’s just great.”

Clayton Forsey, MHA for Exploits, agreed with Mr. Simms that the anniversary/Come Home Year celebrations have been well organized.

“It’s overwhelming, how many people have taken part, and volunteering. It’s a community effort and everyone is putting every effort into it.” Bill Chaytor

“It’s just awesome,” he said. “They’ve got so many things incorporated into this year, and it’s just amazing, with the festivities. The committee and the town have got to be happy. I’m really impressed and it’s excellent.”

But the person who was really bowled over by the success of the ongoing events over the year culminating in the 10 days of festivities is Deputy Mayor Scott Sceviour, also the chair of the Come Home Year committee as well as the Botwood Heritage Society.

“I don’t know if there’s any adjectives to describe the kind of day that we had (Monday’s parade) and the whole 10 days,” he said. “The community support we received was absolutely phenomenal. The general population, the visitors who came home and the livyers, the people came out in huge numbers to every event.

“It was way beyond our expectations.”

He added other communities stepped to offer support. People who participate in the Lewisporte Marina came to help out with the boat parade in Botwood, which was a first for that community. Twenty-nine vessels joined in that flotilla; Deputy Mayor Sceviour said people would like to see the boat parade again next year.

“Everyone I’ve been talking were saying the events were just right, not overkill, just spaced out enough to let people spend time with their families.

“Everyone said it was just perfect. Everyone came out and supported what we did, it brought tears to my eyes. It was a very emotional 10 days.”