Highlands gives us Christmas cheer
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | Nov. 29, 2018|
Like many of you, I wasn’t prepared for the early onset of winter. And, I’d be lying if I said I’m embracing it. I would have if the white stuff had fallen in December. It’s the same with Christmas. It is one of my favourite times of the year, but not when the season arrives on Nov. 12, the day after Remembrance Day. I’ve always been a two-weeks before Christmas kinda’ person. That’s when the tree and decorations go up in our house. And, we’re a less is more type of family. Call me a bah humbug, if you want.
However, I reluctantly got into an early Christmas spirit this past weekend. I didn’t have a choice. It was my weekend to work and everything Christmas-related was going on all-weekend long.
Gord Kidd and his band got me primed on Friday night as they played Christmas carols outside of my office in the Village Barn. Then, a crowd assembled for the lighting of the downtown Christmas tree. As a full moon hung over Highland Street, the Santa Claus parade made its way through the downtown. I love a small town parade. I loved the fact that the manager of the bank was walking holding a banner, that businesses I patronize had colourful lights on their work trucks and that people knew everybody in the parade and were calling out first-name greetings. As marvelous as the televised parades may be in places such as Toronto or New York City, nobody is greeting drivers and people on floats by name.
It was the same energy at the Santa Claus parade in Minden. Some of the same floats were back for day two and as Phil McCabe drove the Moose FM truck, a huge smile was plastered on his face. Not a bad day at the office. And, MP Jamie Schmale had his own personal float while MPP Laurie Scott walked the route. A gaggle of Minden Hills councillors went by. The politicians gave me lots of candy canes, indicating I needed some sweetening up.
I’ve always been a huge fan of the Festival of Trees at Kawartha Settlers Village in Bobcaygeon. I am delighted that Minden does its own festival at the cultural centre and grounds. Visiting on Saturday, it is evident it is just getting bigger and better every year. Beautifully decorated Christmas trees and wreathes could be found throughout.
And then I had the pleasure of covering this year’s Highlands Christmas Shindig. Sitting next to the Echo’s Jenn Watt, I commented I’d had a long work day and might sneak out at intermission. Of course, I didn’t as I thoroughly enjoyed the show. There are not too many towns where a man [Mike Jaycock] dresses as a woman [Dame Beatrice] all for a cause. In this case, the cause was Fuel for Warmth. A ton of people came together to make this production a success once again. It was a sell-out. And, when the big reveal came, Joanne Barnes accepted a cheque for just over $27,000.
Some of us lament that it would be a far greater place to live if we didn’t have to continually fundraise to support those living in poverty in the Highlands. However, the changes needed to ensure this county is no longer one of the poorest in Ontario will take time. In the meantime, we will continue to come together as a community to take care of ours. While we should never be proud of the fact we’re the second poorest county in Ontario, we should be proud of our efforts to relieve the suffering for those who are in need. Thanks Haliburton County for dragging me into an early Christmas spirit.
Lisa Gervais is the editor for The Highlander.