The fireworks committee is ecstatic with the outcome after another successful Canada Day event held in Wallaceburg.
Travis Hooper, chair of the fireworks committee, said they tried to beef up the kids theme this year.
“We wanted it to be free for all families. That was a huge success from the Zoo To You group with all the animals and the kids being able to actually pick them up and carry the snakes, pet the kangaroos. It was a cool and unique experience for them,” Hooper said.
“That whole children’s area, talking with the vendors, was a huge success and very, very busy. For the entire six hours we had stuff out there. Our craft vendors were very happy with the day and the other vendors were happy so over all we look at from a business perspective it was very successful for our community.
Hooper said the firework show was around 25 minutes long, which was bigger than last year.
“Through the day I think we had a larger crowd. I would say our early daytime crowd was the largest we have ever seen. For the fireworks I would say somewhere right around 5,000 to 6,000 mark. Similar to last year. We got a lot of positive feedback on social media of the overall success of the entire event. A long day wrapped up with a lot of positive feedback which is great because that’s what we look for as a community<” Hooper said.
This year more people were in other areas, they weren’t necessarily in the A.A. Wright school yard.
We are getting a lot of feedback that the No Frills parking lot and Taylor’s parking lot, Arnold Street and the factory parking lots were all full. I think people have chose to look at them in a different way rather than coming down to the park, which is great. A lot of the people that were at the park, there was so much going on, to take part in and get that joy of the fireworks at the end was what made it special.”
Hooper said there were many highlights and successes throughout the day.
“We had Alyssa Doherty, who was Queen Elsa. She was phenomenal. It was great, there was probably 20 little girls dressed as princesses to watch her perform. United Nations singers started it off. It was an amazing drumming and singing piece that kicked off the event perfectly. Than there was the Large Marge Eating contest, there was probably 300-400 people watching the Large Marge Eating contest. The fastest time being turned in at just under two minutes,” he said.
“Every piece that we brought to the stage went over really, really well. We had Mikayla Lozon, do the National Anthem. Seeing people in the audience stand up with tears in their eyes. Right before the fireworks we went with Eddie Babcock, who played O’Canada with the bagpipes. That’s how we did the count down. Standing in the crowd you heard the whole crowd singing O’Canada with the bagpipes.”
Hooper added: “It was a pretty unique environment last night. A lot of emotions and a lot of people just saying how awesome it was. A lot of positive feedback.”
Hooper said the three bands they had, Rumble Fish from Sarnia, The Chasers from Dover and Face 4 Radio from Chatham, was “a good mix of music and entertainment from the Sarnia/Lambton/Chatham-Kent area for us.”
Hooper said it’s a 365 day fundraising effort for one day.
“And the bulk of that going up in 20 minutes,” he said. “You see the struggles other areas have had and you know it’s a challenge. We have already looked at this years event and same as we did last year, you reflect on what worked, what didn’t work, what to change, what we can shorten and what we can add. So we really just go into planning early and then once the planning is in place, you know what your budget is going to look like. There is government changes and taxes applied that were not in place in the past that will be applied this year. So knowing that ahead of time, you just plan for it.”
Hooper said the community stepped up all year to ensure the event was successful.
“We reach out to the community time and time again for the fundraising efforts and we try to do it in a fun engaged way so that they aren’t just handing money over. We want to make it bigger and better. We definitely know where we can do that. It’s going to be great in 2016… (Canada’s 149th birthday)next year and that sets us up for the 150th anniversary which is going to be pretty special.”
Check out our photo gallery from the event here:
– Photo from Facebook: Travis Hooper, Carmen McGregor, Mikayla Lozon and Bev Shipley.