Should we do it again next year?

St. Andrew's on Historic Queensborough Day

It was terrific to see the good turnout of local folks and visitors from afar at historic St. Andrew’s United Church at the start of  Historic Queensborough Day.

I thought it might be fitting to end my string of Historic Queensborough Day-themed posts with some thoughts about repeating the event in future years. Now, I should stress that this idea didn’t come from me; it was something that numerous people suggested during the celebrations here in our little village last Sunday. “I’d come again, and bring other people,” was something I heard more than once. And: “I know someone who would love to come to this.” And so on.

While the volunteers who helped out that day, some of whom (like me) are perhaps still recovering from all the excitement and hard work, probably feel a bit wary about promising a repeat event quite so soon after the first one, there certainly have been some good ideas tossed out for a second Historic Queensborough Day. Are you interested? Well then, I’ll tell you:

  • First off, as Anne Barry of the Queensborough Beautification Committee noted during Sunday’s ceremonies – which included recognition of the great work that her committee has been doing – there are plans in the works for more signage (probably with landscaping/flowers attached) and other projects at entrances to the village. So that would be a lovely thing to recognize.
  • Some of the visitors Sunday said they’d like to be able to tour a few of the historic homes in the area. I know that house tours can be extremely popular – the famous and longstanding one in Port Hope, Ont., being a good example – so that might well be something to think about. (Mind you, the Manse is unlikely to be one of the tour stops, unless this so-called renovation that Raymond and I are supposedly undertaking suddenly gets moved into high gear.) One excellent suggestion I received today was that the tour include “the old stores, churches, mill and maybe a few houses.” Now wouldn’t that be great?
  • As I mentioned in an earlier post, the hosts at the two splendid gardens that were part of this year’s event both said they wished it had been held earlier in the summer, when gardens are in full bloom. Maybe an earlier event with more gardens?
  • As I’ve also written before, Queensborough and its views and buildings have a long history of being subjects for painters, photographers and other artists. In addition, we are (and have been through the years) blessed with an abundance of talented people who do outstanding wood carving, photography, painting, quilt-making, and so on. Some sort of focus on Queensborough and the visual arts, past and present, could be both interesting and beautiful – and good publicity for local artists and artisans.
  • And what about music? One reader suggested a concert in the park (presumably the pretty park area down by the Black RIver), and wouldn’t that be nice?
  • We’d have to have the horse-and-wagon rides again. People loved them – and thanks once again to Bruce and Barb Gordon for providing them. I also found myself reminiscing during the day about pony rides that used to be a prime attraction for kids like me once upon a time (when I was growing up here) at strawberry socials at St. Andrew’s United Church. And that got me thinking that pony rides and/or other events just for kids would be a fun thing to offer.

We’ve also had a few suggestions for making things more fun for everyone at future events:

  • Having a special “sneak preview” of the historical displays the evening before the event for the volunteers, including the owners of the gardens, who will be working hard on the day itself. Maybe a wine and cheese reception would be nice.
  • Ensuring there’s a guest book at the various events, where visitors can leave not only their names and where they come from but also their contact information if they’d like to know more about Queensborough or hear about future events.
  • Have name tags for people who are longtime residents, or descendants of longtime or early residents, so that other visitors will know them and can ask questions and share stories and knowledge.
Lineup for burgers

The lineup for barbecued burgers and hot dogs was really, really long, but people were patient and chatted happily about Queensborough as they waited. This photo, by the way, is one of a bunch of very nice ones of Historic Queensborough Day taken by photographer Dave deLang; you can find more on the queensborough.ca website by clicking on Home and then Event Calendar – or just click here. And thanks, Dave!

  • And possibly most importantly of all: buy more food to barbecue! Raymond had to run into Madoc not once but twice on Sunday to replenish supplies, even though the planning committee had bought what we thought was lots and lots of food. It sure is a good problem to have, to end up with way more people in attendance (and chowing down on burgers) than had been expected.

So what do you think, people? Should we do it again? Would you come if we did? Would you (gulp) volunteer to help out? Please post your comments and thoughts!

Tonight I have a postscript: As I write this, I am feeling very badly because Raymond and I have inadvertently missed another local social event, a roast-beef dinner being held by the Cooper-Rimington Women’s Institute in the nearby hamlet of Cooper. We had heard about the event last weekend, had had every intention of attending to enjoy a delicious meal and to support the Cooper community – and managed, in the past few busy days, to forget about it until it was too late. I’ve already had glowing reports from some Queensborough folks who did attend, and I just wanted to say to Cooper readers: our apologies, and please let me know about the next event. I promise to publicize it here, and to be on hand myself to enjoy it!

6 thoughts on “Should we do it again next year?

  1. Sunday past was a wonderful day. I was so proud to be able to share Queensborough with all who attended. My first impression of our hamlet some forty-five years ago, was love at first site. It was full of life, pride of ownership was everywhere, with kind and caring neighbours. Queensborough”‘ the hamlet” does not care which committee’s goals are being accomplished, or what page of someone ‘s five year plan, we happen to be on today. I believe that we are fortunate to live in such a beautiful little place, and we are also responsible to maintain and preserve it, and not let it fall by the way side, like so many other little places. I would be happy to help if needed, and I’m sure Johnny if asked, would sputter and spin, but also would be there to help . Your returning to Queensborough, with Raymond, has been a godsend for our community. Maybe years down the road, you will be referred to as the “unofficial” Mayor of Queensborough. I know I would vote for you! Anne

    • Anne, thank you for you kind words! As you say, it’s not any one person or persons (and certainly not Raymond and me – we’re just a part of the picture, like everyone else) who makes a community not just survive but thrive. It’s all of us working together, despite our different backgrounds and approaches and points of view, to make Queensborough “full of life, (with) pride of ownership everywhere, with kind and caring neighbours.” (I love your description!) I think we were all proud on Sunday – and deservedly so!

  2. My husband and I have property on the Black River south of Queensborough, and once we get there, we like to stay there. But I’m so glad I got up to village for the Heritage Day; it was well worth the bike ride! I poured over the pictures, books, scrapbooks and general memorabilia in the old schoolhouse for hours, and would love to see all that stuff again. House tours are a great idea. I wonder if a few of the old folk could be prevailed upon to give short talks about their memories of life in Queensborough in the old days? I thank you all for la wonderful effort.

    • Hi Cara! I’m so glad you were able to come for Historic Queensborough Day, and it was a pleasure to meet you there. The idea of having some of the village elders talk (whether live or recorded on audio or video) about earlier days in Queensborough is something we’ve talked about, and should try to organize. Thank you for the push!

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