Everyone got wet but no one cared. The day was warm, a little muggy and grey and still people sauntered down Gore Street in Perth, swayed along to the Totally Hip at Rock the Dock Rideau Ferry, ate outside at picnic tables, paddled into the Tay Basin and greeted complete strangers with a wave and ‘Happy Canada Day!’
Bridges at both sides of the Tay Basin were lined with onlookers waiting for the Royal Canadian Air Force 1 Canada Air Division CC-150 Polaris. By 4 p.m. the plane still hadn’t arrived and word on the street was it had been delayed by a torrential downpour in Ottawa. Festivities went on despite the plane’s no-show and everyone from six-month-old twin boys Scott and Martin Smith, to Joyce and Ken McKinley (with all due respect, didn’t ask how old they were…) enjoyed the music, relaxing, and the free time to do nothing but smile.
Face painting, always a big hit, drew parents and children, Derek McKinley enticed kids to jump and stretch and sing along at the Sing Song Party Time mid-afternoon kids’ bash and one romantic story emerged at Rideau Ferry. Young Dallas Davies, 8, was flaked out on the picnic table bench around 1:30; his hip aunt and uncle were there along with his babysister, and his uncle whispered (because the kids didn’t know this yet) that Dad was proposing to Mom (Skyler and Matt) at that very moment in Stewart Park in Perth! Whew! Exciting times for the Davies family.
Back in Perth a large family gathered from Stittsville, Gillies Corners and Perth for a quick lunch before afternoon activities, Jessica Aragon put her creative talents to work designing intricate patterns on hands with henna and Debbie Wilson from Lanark Lodge with glittery red Canada Day eyelashes engaged the crowd with her clown get-up.
Finally, it was time for ice cream. Will from Napanee ordered a double-decker at Peter’s (now open for the season) and headed off for a quiet sit-down with his wife. On reflection, it was a good day – lots of grins, lots of laughter, lots of food and activities for all ages – it didn’t matter that it rained because the nicest thing about rain is that it always stops. Eventually.
Photos by Sally Smith