By Chris Must
The 150th anniversary of Confederation won’t pass unnoticed in Smiths Falls, as the town is planning a full year of celebrations.
Planning is still underway, but a number of celebratory events are already confirmed. The town has also been successful in securing funding to help with event expenses. Ingrid Bron, economic development and tourism coordinator, informed town councillors on Dec. 12 that $16,900 will be received from the federal government’s Canada 150 Fund to assist with two of the events. Applications for provincial funding are still pending.
“We are pleased that economic development and tourism received approval of funding from Canada 150, because 90 per cent of the applications are rejected,” Bron reported.
Town staff have focused their planning around the celebration of a number of themes in Smiths Falls history, including the town’s Irish heritage, and the importance of rail and water transportation.
The first event of the list of confirmed activities for 2017 is an exhibition of Russian fashions, textiles and photographs at Heritage House Museum, opening Jan. 20 and running until March 31.
Another January event will be the opening night of Film Night International at the Station Theatre, Jan. 26.
Events in February will include the Fill-a-Bowl Fundraiser Feb. 11, hosted by the Local Immigration Partnership, the Friends of the Library Trivia Challenge, Feb. 12, and another event at Heritage House Feb. 16 called “Lushes with Brushes.”
Irish heritage will be celebrated March 16 with an Irish stew family luncheon hosted by Heritage House March 16, followed by the Green Mile run on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. The Railway Museum will also host an “Emerald Gala” March 18.
The annual Spring Fling Running Thing, a half marathon and fundraiser for hospital equipment, will be held April 30 and forms part of the local Canada 150 event line-up.
From May 5 to Aug. 25 Heritage House will host an exhibition entitled “Our Town: Smiths Falls in 1867.” Other May events will include an art show and sale at the Smiths Falls Memorial Community Centre, and the opening of the Railway Museum for the season.
In June, events include the commemoration of D-Day at Evergreen Avenue, the June 4 Fly-In Breakfast at Russ Beach Airport, and the Relay for Life on June 4. The weekend of June 17-18 will see the town host two large festivals, the Healthy Living Festival and Rideau Paddlefest. Other June events will include National Aboriginal Day June 21, Highland on the Rideau with the Gordon Pipe Band June 24, the Smiths Falls Triathlon June 4, Recreation Hall of Fame inductions June 25, a voyageur canoe event at Centennial Park June 27, and the chamber of commerce golf tournament and “Irish Homestead Dinner” June 28.
The highlight in July will be the July 1 Canada Day parade and celebrations at Lower Reach Park.
July will also see Smiths Falls host a champion grooming dog show at the community centre July 29-31, and the Rolling Thunder Car Show at Lower Reach Park July 30.
Highlights in August will include the “Race the Runway” drag races at the airport Aug. 12, the Urban Jungle Obstacle and Fitness Challenge Aug. 13, and Trainfest at the Railway Museum Aug. 26-27.
A highlight in September is the Rise Above the Mud Obstacle Challenge, a fundraiser for the Smiths Falls Community Hospital Foundation on Sept. 30.
For the month of October Heritage House Museum will host “Saved by the Bell: Victorian Mourning and Superstitions.”