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PAB Winter Carnival 2023

Lucy mae Lomond and Finley McDonald in the fishing shanty during the fishing derby on Feb. 25. – photo courtesy of Mark Lomond.

By Jaymie White Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

PORT AUX BASQUES — Winter Carnival 2023 organizers say this year’s event was a fun-filled celebration with activities for all ages. The Port aux Basques Lions Club had a three-person committee, Val Clarke, Brad Clarke, and Rod Beaton, who worked hard to put off the first Winter Carnival since COVID began three years ago. “It went excellent. We put a lot of time into it. There were only three of us on the committee, and of course it was a lot of work, but we had a lot of organizations and businesses that came on board to host events,” said Val Clarke. “The 50-Plus Club and the Salvation Army had potlucks, the United Church had soup and sandwiches and they also had an event at the church. There was something for everyone. We also reached out to the hospital, for the people on the extended care unit who couldn’t get out. We made sure they were taken care of as well. We had bingo and served sandwiches and refreshments that we served to the seniors.” Despite having such a small committee, things turned out well. “It was a busy 10 days ,but it’s all wrapped up now. All my reports are done on the event. We had a Lions Club meeting last night (March 7) and it was a very successful Winter Carnival for everyone,” said Clarke. “We had lots of things on the agenda for the youth. We had dances for them, plus we had the pageants, it all went over really, really well.” COVID delayed the carnival for three years, and with Hurricane Fiona having hit the town hard only six months ago, the Lions Club felt it was time to host the carnival again. “That was the whole purpose of doing the carnival and why it was more important than ever. We’ve been three years now because of COVID, not being able to do it, and then all of a sudden we had Fiona thrown on top of it, and the three of us sat down in December, just coming off the Lions Club efforts for Fiona, and were sat around the kitchen table, myself, Brad (Clarke) and Rod (Beaton) and we said it would be nice to do something to put smiles on people’s faces because, even though Christmas came and went, people were still in the Fiona mindset, so we wanted to do something positive, bring back the Winter Carnival and try to put smiles back on people’s faces, give them something to look forward to,” said Clarke. “The winter was going to be hard anyway. It’s always dreary and long. You’re stuck in the house, so putting off the Winter Carnival, having something for everybody, then as Lions we are doing what we’re supposed to do, serving our communities.” An online auction was held where individuals could bid on numerous items including quilts, and money raised went back into Fiona relief. “It’s close to $2,900 that was raised that goes back into the Fiona account for the families,” said Clarke. “People came out and I haven’t heard one negative comment. Sometimes people will say certain things weren’t done the right way, or something else could’ve been done, but I think people realized it was only the three of us and we went out of our way to make sure we had something for everybody, and the response was phenomenal. It’s been nothing but positive the whole way through, and we used social media, we used Facebook, to promote it in every which way we could.” Even frigid temperatures couldn’t keep people from participating. “It was cold for a couple of the outdoor events. I know the Skeet Shoot was a cold day, but they still ended up with a fine crew there, and the day of the ice fishing was really cold, but people still came out. They had fun, and Sou’Wes Delta is another organization that came on with us and they had some awesome prizes. The business community in Port aux Basques, the businesses that stepped up to the plate to help us, and Marine Atlantic came on as a corporate sponsor as well. It was a total team effort.” Two of the events most affected by the cold temperatures were hosted by Sou’Wes Newfoundland Delta Waterfowl. The first event, the Fishing Derby on Dennis’ Pond took place on Saturday Feb. 25 from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. with 49 adults and 16 youth participating. Approximately 20-25 trout were caught during the derby and the winners were as follows: First: Craig Rodgers – 33 cm catch Second: Todd Harris – 31 ¾ cm catch Third: Dave Standing – 31 cm catch Fourth: Harley Osmond – 28 cm catch Youth Door Prize: Lucy Lomond Adult Door Prize: Laura Elms The Skeet Shooting competition took place the following weekend, March 4, at 1:00 p.m. at the old incinerator site on Barachois Hill. The winners for the event were as follows: Youth Shoot Winner: Brayden Parsons Singles Shoot Winner: Raymond Osmond Pairs Event Winners: Jackson Osmond and Tanner Billard Mayor Brian Button praised the Lions Club for all their hard work. “Hats off to them. It looks like they did a fantastic job,” said Button. “There were multiple things on the go for youth up to seniors in our community and they said the closing banquet was a full house which was fantastic. We had some half-decent weather. I know for the fishing derby it was a cold day but the Delta Waterfowl group are warriors and they went out and got it on the go. Overall, it was great to see the different organizations that get involved with the Winter Carnival.”

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