The theme for this year’s festival is Where Good Friends Meet.
Opening ceremonies slated for Thursday evening
The four-day celebration kicks off Thursday, June 8, with the Dorchester Public Library hosting its annual book sale from 1-5 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. The library’s book sale will continue Friday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1-4 p.m.; and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1-3 p.m., at which time a cake auction will also be held.
Visitors to the festival on Thursday evening can enjoy a barbecue outside the Dorchester Veterans Community Centre (DVCC), beginning at 5:30 p.m., before heading inside for the official Shiretown Days Festival opening ceremony at 6 p.m. In conjunction with the opening ceremonies, this year’s Dorchester junior mayor will be introduced. For those interested in participating, the Canada 150 scavenger hunt list can also be picked up during the opening ceremonies.
Also taking place at the DVCC, this year’s firefighter’s auction will be held from 6:30-9 p.m., with viewing getting underway at 6 p.m.
The excitement continues Friday, with a Taste of Westmorland food sampling being held at the DVCC from 6-10 p.m. Free entertainment will also be on tap Friday evening at the DVCC, with Frantically Atlantic taking the stage from 6:30-8:15 p.m., followed by Ray Legere and Cyril MacPhee from 8:30-10:15 p.m. A family movie night will be held Friday from 7-9 p.m. at the Dorchester Recreation Centre.
Popular Shiretown Days Parade headlines Saturday’s events
Those planning to attend Saturday’s wide variety of events can start the day off right with a country style pancake/waffle breakfast fundraiser at the Masonic Lodge Sussex #4., with kids under 10 eating for free.
A bicycle safety course will be held at 10 a.m. outside Dorchester Consolidated School (DCS), with prizes being awarded, including $100 towards a new bike.
The Keillor House Museum will open for the season Saturday morning at 11 a.m., featuring guided tours and admission is free.
From 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, the Dorchester Village Square will play host to a variety of vendors.
One of the true highlights of the annual festival is the Shiretown Days Parade, with this year’s instalment kicking off at 1 p.m. The line-up for this year’s parade gets underway at 12 p.m. on Woodlawn Road and judging will follow the parade at DCS. A pipes and drums march will also be held from the village square to the DVCC.
For the musically inclined, there will be plenty of free entertainment on tap throughout the day Saturday. Aboriginal drummer and storyteller Gilbert Sewell will perform at the DVCC at 3 p.m., followed by Stacey Read’s Junior Jills at 3:45 p.m. Eddy Poirier will take the stage from 4:45-5:30 p.m. and 6-6-:45 p.m., followed by Chris Cummings from 7-9 p.m.
A “Taste of Westmorland” supper will be held in the downstairs of the DVCC from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Saturday evening.
Finishing off Saturday’s wide range of events, the Dorchester Fire Department will host a beer garden at the fire hall from 8 p.m.-2 a.m., with live entertainment provided from 9:30 p.m.-1 a.m. The Dorchester Lions Club will have a fundraising barbecue set up outside the fire hall during the beer garden.
Wide variety of children’s events on tap Sunday
Area residents can lace up their sneakers Sunday morning for the Over the Wall Run, with participants encouraged to dress up in a prisoner costume. Registration opens at 9:30 a.m. and the event will feature a variety of distances for all levels of athletes. A 5-km run (17 years and older) gets underway at 10 a.m.; a 5-km walk (17 years and older) starts at 10:15 a.m.; a kids’ dash (16 and under) begins at 11 a.m.; and, open to everyone, a 1 km stroll will roll out at 11:15 a.m. The Over the Wall Run starts at Richard Park and follows a route along Cape Road.
Vendors will be set up in on the DCS grounds from noon-4 p.m.
DCS will also play host to a wide variety of children’s events from noon-4 p.m.: touch-a-truck, Water Walkerz, face painting, glow parties-big baller and a princess tea. Frantically Atlantic will return for another free performance on Sunday from 1-2:30 p.m. and Dustin Hurley will astound people of people of all ages with his magic show at 3 p.m., with both performances at DCS. Valdy will return to Dorchester for a concert at Shepody House Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. (visit Shepody House’s Facebook page for ticket information).
For a full schedule of events, visit Dorchester.ca and click on 2017 Shiretown Festival link.
Keillor House Museum Celebrates 50th Year
With all the hype surrounding Canada 150 Celebrations, one community museum is remembering the last 50 years with pride. Keillor House Museum, located at 4974 Main Street in historic Dorchester opened for the first time in 1967 – exactly 50 years ago.
“The creation of the museum was the result of a Canadian Centennial Project,” says Donald Alward, the newly hired Curator & Manager for Keillor House Museum, “Now, 50 years later, here we are, still going strong.”
The museum will celebrate their golden anniversary with the opening ceremony scheduled for Saturday, June 10, at 11 a.m. The event will take place outside on the front lawn of the museum where the public is welcome to join in the festivities.
“Since it is traditional for our museum staff to be costumed as the hired staff of the house and this is the first time the museum has someone in a position like mine,” Alward says, “I have decided to take on the persona of John Keillor himself, the master of the house, and be in costume too.”
Alward will be on hand to present a history of the museum during the opening. An official ribbon cutting will follow the brief presentation and then everyone will be invited to step inside for a reception and to visit the museum.
“The annual opening of the Keillor House Museum is a keystone event that takes place during Dorchester’s Shiretown Days Festival,” adds Alice Folkins, activities coordinator for Westmorland Historical Society, the governing body of Keillor House Museum, St. James Textile Museum and other historic properties in the village of Dorchester.