FRENCHMAN’S COVE, N.L. – Frenchman’s Cove Come Home Year celebrations wrapped up Sunday, July 30 and according to attendees and organizers, the week-long celebrations were a success.
From a mummers’ parade to an ugly stick making workshop; picnic in the park to bingo and breakfasts; dory races to a comedy night; washers tournament to a dinner and dance – organizers ensured there were fun activities for young and old alike.
Frenchman’s Cove’s oldest resident Sam Myles – who cut the ribbon to open the festivities— described Come Home Year as the best celebrations held in the community for decades.
“It’s hard to believe all the people are around. We had breakfast in the community centre and it’s the most people I ever seen in that building,” he said.
Myles has been part of many community celebrations over the years.
The friendly senior who turns 91 Aug. 25 is known throughout the community as dory mate.
He still has his license, Myles said proudly, and enjoys nothing more than going for a row in his little boat.
Myles’s work life started at age 13 when he left home and went to work on the U.S. base in Argentia, washing dishes in the mess hall. His father also worked on the base at the time.
Myles spent almost three decades carving a living from the sea. He worked on draggers – both side trawlers and stern trawlers.
“I tell you, sweetheart, when you’ve got a family, you’ve got to work for them. And there was a lot of people worked hard besides me,” he said.
Myles and his wife Mary have nine children, most of whom made it home to Frenchman’s Cove for the celebrations.
Dale Bond of Garnish was one of the people who led the ugly stick making workshop. About 30 children and adults had a great time making their instruments.
“Everybody got to put on whatever they wanted — beer bottle stoppers, they put hair on the top of it and eyeballs for the face. Everybody’s stick was different. Then they were all in the parade with their ugly sticks,” Bond said.
Edna Ashmead was born and raised in Frenchman’s Cove but left the area over 60 years ago. The 82-year-old came home from Calgary, Alberta for the celebrations.
Being part of the celebrations and seeing old friends means the world to her, she said.
“All my sisters are here. And my brother, and my son from Ottawa,” she said. “The first day at the breakfast, I don’t know how they did it. They had 200 or 300 people (to serve) and they didn’t run out of food. And the Santa Claus parade was just fantastic.”
Barb Cribb is a member of the Come Home Year organizing committee.
She estimates that over 300 people took part in the celebrations.
“We had a Newfie kitchen party, our bingo game was filled to capacity. Our comedy night and Christmas in the Cove were hits. And our fashion show turned into a beauty pageant,” she said.
Prizes were awarded for best decorated floats in the mummers’ parade and for best decorated homes in the Christmas in the Cove event.
“We have had a fantastic week,” Cribb said, “and everything we did sold out.”