I would like to expand further on the article by editor Kevin Higgins and the editorial in the Beacon on August 8.
First of all a big thank you to the Beacon staff for their coverage of the 27th Festival of Flight and the positive coverage. Also, I would like to thank all of our sponsors for the festival — it just couldn’t happen without them.
Let’s talk about the event itself. When I attended the event in past years my primary functions that I attended were the Kitchen Party and, of course, Gander Day itself. At these events it was always good to talk to old friends and reminisce about the past.
But how did all this come together. Why it was the Town employees, the Special Events staff and the summer students, along with the numerous volunteers. What a fantastic job they did to provide this to the residents and non-residents. As councilor I watched the Special Events director put things together every day of the week to bring fun to the children and parents. Not one employee or summer student refused or complained about a task they were assigned to do.
Just think about the work put into the festivities. The Tribute to the Troops was very well attended, and we (The Town) wanted to show our appreciation, and I’m sure they appreciated the gesture. The opening ceremonies were a big success with almost over a 1,000 parents and kids attending. Just think of the work involved here to put this thing off.
Look at the different service organizations that put off events. A lot of work done by a few volunteers.
Thomas Howe, Gander Rod and Gun Club, North Atlantic Aviation Museum and Lions Club all need people to keep these organizations and events going. Please think about volunteering and getting involved. The events these groups put off were very well attended. I went around to some of these events and the kids seemed to be enjoying themselves, which is the main thing.
One other thing I wish to comment on is the Screaming Eagle R/C Flying Club. This is a great show and a must attend next year. Again organized by members and volunteers to bring enjoyment to the festival.
The kitchen party was one of the biggest in the last few years. The entertainment shall I say was “awesome”. There were 1,500 people attending, and we did have a problem at the bar between the hours of 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. This was in no way the Avion Players fault. Again there is a problem in getting people to participate, and that is basically why we didn’t have two bars. We hope to have that remedied next year.
Thomas Amusements is always a controversial topic. Folks, these people inject a substantial amount of money into the Festival of Flight, and we need that to bring events to you. However, I have had more positive comments than negative about them.
The Community Breakfast sponsored by the Gander Chamber of Commerce is always a big attraction. Thanks Hazel to you and your staff.
The Gander Day events (Monday) were held at the Town Square for reasons which we know all about. Mother Nature was good to us for a few hours, but spoiled most of the day. The concessionaires had to close up shop early because of the rain, which was a safety issue. I would like to thank the citizens of Gander who stuck it out in the rain to watch the music that was presented that evening and night. I also should thank the performers. Again it was good to see our Town employees there keeping the grounds tidy and clean. Too bad we couldn’t get a full day, as this would have been a good test to see if we could hold it there in the future with improvements or changes.
The fireworks were scheduled at 10 p.m., but where we had a break in the rain we decided to fire them fifteen minutes early. Hopefully, we didn’t disappoint too many people but we can’t control the weather. This Gander Day wasn’t a total washout by Mother Nature like the one in 1990, but pretty close.
I guess my whole point of this rant is to thank the employees, summer student staff and volunteers of the different organizations for the tremendous work they did to put the festival off for us. Next year, hopefully, will be bigger and better.
Chair Festival of Flight