While rain was forecast for most of the region, the sun was delivered as ordered, much to the joy of thousands of visitors who travelled to Farnham, last Saturday, September 15, for the 33rd edition of Townshippers’ Day. Thanks in part to the City of Farnham coordinating their annual family and heritage celebrations with Townshippers’ Day, there was no shortage of things to see and do for the estimated 5,000 visitors from across the region who gathered at and around the Jean-Jacques-Bertrand High School and Roch-Bourbonnais Park.
The official theme of T-Day 2012 was “Farnham: The Past, The Present and The Future,” and before being officially opened by Mr. Denis Riel, T-Day Organizing Committee Chair, several visiting dignitaries emphasised the importance of cultivating the special relationship that exists between the Townships English and French speaking residents. Members of Parliament, Deputy Jean Rousseau (Compton-Stanstead) and Deputy Pierre Jacob (Brome-Missisquoi), Members of the National Assembly of Quebec, the Honorable Pierre Reid (Orford) and the Honorable Pierre Paradis (Brome-Missisquoi), and Mr.Josef Husler, Mayor of Farnham, each in their own way expressed their pleasure at participating in the day and their appreciation for the Township’s English-speaking communities.
With that T-Day was off and so were the visitors who browsed hundreds of kiosks featuring a variety of artisans, local producers, community groups and educational institutions, inside the school’s entrance and gymnasium. More kiosks along with fantastic food, paved the way between the school and the park, where the wildly popular silent auction, diverse entertainment and family activities, with face painting, inflatable games and mini race course, took place.
Thanks to the three free shuttle buses, visitors were able to travel to Farnham’s scenic downtown core in the afternoon to take in the pomp and pageantry of the Freedom of the City Ceremony, exercised by the Red Guard of the Royal 22nd Regiment, accompanied last Saturday by the 6th Battalion. The ceremony is a esteemed military honour bestowed on select organizations giving them the privilege to march into a city with “drums beating, colours flying, and bayonets fixed.”
The shuttles were loaded to the hilt following the service, as visitors returned to T-Day’s main site for more food and fun! Many visitors wound their way around the highly popular silent auction tent to explore the 100 plus goodies while others gathered at the entertainment tent and St-André South Street to be captivated by talented, and often bilingual, local acts such as the Juke Box band, the Brome Squares, Jean-Philip Pothier, École de danse Martine Laplante, Matthew McCully, and David Lee Mac Phail.
A few afternoon clouds and brief rainfall had little effect on the many high spirits and surplus of smiles. Even as the event wrapped up following the widely popular, comedy, magic and acrobatics of the Jack Sparrow family show, there were still plenty of happy faces watching as everything was packed away.
This year’s T-Day activities were made possible thanks to the generosity of a variety of supporting partners, including CBC Montreal, Canadian Heritage, Patrimoine Farnham, The Sherbrooke Record, Ville de Farnham, Global Excel Management Inc., the Stanstead Journal, Caisse populaire Desjardins de Farnham, Jean Coutu – Denis Émond, Pharmacie Jean Coutu Pharmacy, Boutique Hors Taxes de L’est Inc., Club Lions Farnham, Fermes Farnham Ltee/Farnham Farms LTD and, Meubles Denis Riel.
Townshippers’ Association wishes to offer our most sincere appreciation to our supporting partners, as well as the numerous other contributors whose donations – both financial and in-kind – made a significant impact on ensuring this community event was a success.
Before Townshippers’ Day, a one-stop resource was created at www.tday.ca containing extensive information about this three decade old event, the host town of Farnham and all the extra “need-to-know” details. The aim of the website was to help visitors make the most of T-Day 2012 and we’re proud to say that mission was accomplished with over 1,600 visitors in September alone clicking in to check the event program, get directions or check in on the 100+ silent auction items.
Now that T-Day is over, visitors to www.tday.ca will soon give visitors a glimpse back at the event and you are welcome to be a part of the 33 year legacy. If you joined us last Saturday, we would love to see and hear your impressions of the Day. Send your comments by email ([email protected]) or on Facebook (townshippersassocation) and they could be featured on our website, Facebook page or future T-Day promotions. We’d also love to showcase your photos (with full credit given). Just email us the photos you’d like to share, along with your name and location.
Reminder; De-Stress Video Conference
If you want to learn more about stress and stress management, there is a free video conference taking place today at the Community Learning Centres (CLC) in Bury (located at Pope Memorial Elementary School, 523 Stokes Street) and Richmond (at Richmond Regional High School, 357 Armstrong). The session is scheduled to take place 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on September 19. To reserve your spot in Bury please contact Lise Dougherty at 819-566-2422, and for Richmond contact Siu-Min Jim at 819-239-1801. For more information contact Shannon Keenan, [email protected] or Debbie Bishop, [email protected] or call Townshippers’ office at 819-566-5717.
For further information on Townshippers’ Association and our activities, keep reading this weekly Keeping in Touch column in The Record and visit us on Twitter @Townshippers, Facebook and our website www.townshippers.qc.ca. To connect with Townshippers’ Association, contact the offices in Sherbrooke (100 – 257 Queen St. 819-566-5717, toll free: 1-866-566-5717) or Lac-Brome (3-584 Knowlton Rd, 450-242-4421, toll free: 1-877-242-4421).
Photo Credit: Townshippers’ Association
Photo Caption: For their first time hosting Townshippers’ Day, the City of Farnham pulled out all the stops to ensure that a few cloudy skies in the afternoon would do little to dampen this beloved fall celebration. With nearly 5,000 happy visitors by the end of the day, the 33rd edition of T-Day is being hailed a success.