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Six things you don’t want to miss at this year’s Bordertown Festival

Jane Siberry will share her talents during an intimate evening at Cranewood on Main.
Jane Siberry will share her talents during an intimate evening at Cranewood on Main. - Contributed

Exciting and eclectic line-up will be served up from May 23-26

SACKVILLE, N.B. —

Sackville’s popular Bordertown Festival is back for a fifth edition and with one of its biggest line-ups yet, there is guaranteed to be something throughout the four-day celebration to suit everyone’s tastes. The festival puts the spotlight on the local arts and culture scene and also provides an opportunity to showcase local businesses, art galleries, restaurants and more. So here are six events you won’t want to miss at this year’s Bordertown.

1. Take in some theatre – Kicking off the festival weekend will be the world premiere of a play by Live Bait Theatre, Cole.

Chester Cole was a Sackville speed skating champion who died tragically in 1930.
Chester Cole was a Sackville speed skating champion who died tragically in 1930.

This play was inspired by the marker at the Chester Cole Ball Field on Lorne Street. The playwright Ron Kelly Spurles often saw this marker and wondered how Chester Cole had become a world champion speed skater and what had happened to him at Madison Square Garden in New York.

“This led to a lot of research, including visits to Chester's sister-in-law Florence Cole, who holds the family records, and the development of the play over about a year,” said Kelly Spurles.

And to add to the excitement, Live Bait will be hosting the shows at the historic Music Barn.

Kelly Spurles also has many local artists involved in this production including: Live Bait director Charlie Rhindress; actors Frank Behar, Paul Brisk, Molly Dysart, Axel Kelly Spurles, Heather MacIntyre and Jarod Monk; crew members Liam Cole and Janice Melanson; costumes design by Cynthia Spurles; and featuring original music by Ray Leger and Janet Crawford.

Cole will kick off on May 22 and run though until May 25, with shows each evening at 7:30 p.m. and a matinee on May 25 at 2 p.m. Visit livebaittheatre.com for more info.

2. How about some country and old-time fiddling? - If you’re a fan of old-time fiddling music and step dancing, this show on Thursday evening is for you.

Sackville fiddling sensation Stacey Read will headline a country and old-time fiddling concert at the Legion.
Sackville fiddling sensation Stacey Read will headline a country and old-time fiddling concert at the Legion.

Featuring Stacey Read, one of Atlantic Canada’s top performers and fiddle teachers, and the Junior Jills, a youth performance group that has come together under Read’s tutelage, as well as Billy King, a veteran of the music scene in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, this concert is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

“This will be an exciting highlight of local talent of a national calibre,” said Ron Kelly Spurles, Sackville’s manager of tourism, “a fun night for anyone who likes fiddle and old time music at the nicely-renovated Sackville Legion.”

This event takes place Thursday, May 23 at the Sackville Legion on Lorne Street starting at 7 p.m., with a donation jar at the door. Call 536-7555 for more info.

3. Enjoy an intimate evening with a gifted singer-songwriter – If you haven’t already gotten tickets for this show, unfortunately you’ll be missing out on this one-of-a-kind, exclusive event.

“This concert at lovely Cranewood on Main is sold out,” said Kelly Spurles.

With only 55 seats available for this intimate concert, Kelly Spurles describes the show featuring iconic singer-songwriter Jane Siberrry as “a Canadian icon close up and personal.”

Siberry has released 14 studio albums, including her well-loved signature song, Calling All Angels. Her songs have been covered by numerous artists, including k.d. lang, with her stunning renditions of Love is Everything and the 23rd Psalm-inspired The Valley. Siberry has been on tour since last November in her home country Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the US, performing with equal enthusiasm at Carnegie Hall and living rooms around the world.

4. Don’t miss the headliner show – Juno award-winning artist Joel Plaskett will share the spotlight with his father Bill as they both take the stage for a can’t-miss performance on Friday evening at the Vogue.

Father-and-son duo Bill and Joel Plaskett will share the spotlight as the headliners of this year’s Bordertown Festival.
Father-and-son duo Bill and Joel Plaskett will share the spotlight as the headliners of this year’s Bordertown Festival.

Plaskett says his dad is one of his earliest musical influences and the two have been collaborating on an album and a cross-country tour for the past two years. Solidarity, released in Feb. 2017, is a collection of original and traditional songs, reflecting the duo’s individual journeys and personal politics.

“Originally we didn't think that Joel would be available at festival time, but it turned out that he was, which was great for us,” said Kelly Spurles. “Since he hasn't played near here in a long time, we thought it would be a great opportunity to bring him back to Sackville.”

Tickets can be purchased in advance at town hall or online at Sackville.com/bordertown or at the door.

5. Take a step back to the Middle Ages – Travel back in time and explore the Middle Ages as the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) puts on demonstrations and displays of medieval arts on Saturday afternoon.

Sue Rose, a member of the SCA, said the group is a “community of people who enjoy exploring the arts and sciences of the Middle Ages.” They hold gatherings to feast together and share their skills including a broad range of cultural and sporting activities.

“At the Bordertown Festival, there will be demonstrations of fencing, chainmaille construction and calligraphy, exhibitions of costuming, armour and illumination,” said Rose.

There will also be a photo booth set up to provide an opportunity for people to try on period costumes and have their pictures taken; as well as a presentation of period foods and spices.

This free event is open to all ages and will take place Saturday, May 25 from 2-5 p.m. at Bill Johnstone Memorial Park. Contact sue@suerose.ca for more information.

6. End off your weekend with some laughs – If you’ve never caught comedian James Mullinger in action, well here’s your chance.

Comedian James Mullinger will take the stage at the Vogue cinema to close out the festival Sunday night.
Comedian James Mullinger will take the stage at the Vogue cinema to close out the festival Sunday night.

“James has taken New Brunswick, and Canada, by storm,” said Kelly Spurles of the British comedian who has been performing sold-out shows across the country and appearing in movies, tv shows, festivals, awards and stand-up specials since moving to Atlantic Canada five years ago.

“If you've ever heard him, you won't forget it - a charming man who has made New Brunswick his home and has a unique perspective on what it means to be ‘Almost Canadian.’”

Mullinger’s show, which will close out the festival Sunday evening, will take place at the Vogue. Tickets can be purchased in advance at town hall or online at Sackville.com/bordertown or at the door.

Check out the rest of the jam-packed line-up at Sackville.com/bordertown

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