Cameron Rice, one of the event’s organizers said the event attracted its largest numbers to date.
“The fourth annual Herring Neck Dory Races were a phenomenal success once again,” he said.
Rice is quick to acknowledge he had the help of a stellar committee and strong sponsorship from local businesses.
The family-oriented festival’s parade had a record number of floats for the spectators that lined the road. A well-attended craft fair was held at the community centre with 11 vendors on hand.
Rice was taken aback by the crowds.
“We had the barbeque started and we ran out of supplies in the first hour. We had to scramble to get more,” he said.
An open house meet and greet at the Orange Lodge almost met with disaster when the location ran out of water just prior to the event starting. Once again, the community rallied and they were able to get water restored for the local mingler.
A kitchen party featuring local talent after the races was also sold out. There was an age-friendly ‘Screech In’ for visitors with Purity Syrup used as the refreshment of choice.
The weekend event is a shining example of amazing community spirit and is wholesome fun for all ages. Even the races are taken lightly.
“It’s not about the competition,” Rice smiled. “Everyone is invited to give the dory race a try. No experience is required. It’s just about the enjoyment. It doesn’t matter if you have to get towed in. No one is laughing at you. We’re laughing with you.”
This year, spectators along the causeway and at the dock were treated to a special guest. A very friendly beluga whale joined the celebration and was swimming from boat to boat and beside the dock.
Coming alongside some of the watercraft, the whale was near enough for people to touch its back. During some of the races the whale seemed to trail along, following the competitors and curiously approaching spectators in their boats.
The races did not finish without a bit of controversy. Matt Piercy, the race announcer, proclaimed there were rumours of illegal doping. It was suspected that some racers were loading up with fries, dressing and gravy, and officials felt that they were using the local delicacy to loosen up their joints for rowing.
Piercy enforced a rule requiring suspects to burp into his face, and if he smelled gravy, they were disqualified.
Fortunately, it turned out to be just rumours and the races concluded without a doping scandal.
Winners of the Herring Neck Dory Races:
First place: (tie) Jamie Rice and Junior Small; Jamie Pardy and Jeffery Pardy – 3:45
Second place Corwin Powell and Cordell Powell – 3:58
First place: Colleen Down and Niamh Down – 5:13
Second place: Jaime Martin and Ashley Agar – 5:18
First Place: Nancy Adams and Roger Adams – 3:45
Second place: Audrey Lynk and Brad Lynk – 3:56
By Jim Hildebrand
Special to the Pilot