by Sharon Jackson
KAGAWONG—Random power outages in the area on Friday afternoon, along with a weather forecast for icy and rainy conditions did not stop members of the Billings Recreation Committee from moving forward with plans to host their annual wine and cheese evening and day of activities scheduled for February 19 and 20. The show must go on!
And it did.
The Park Centre was transformed from its usual function for Zumba and tai chi classes into an elegant room with tables covered in lovely ivory fabric, candles and centrepieces and glittery snowflakes hung from the ceiling and windows. Bottles of red and white wine and goblets were set out with meticulous care, along with two cheese stations: one of which featured dessert cheeses, as well as maple syrup fudge and ice wine marshmallows.
Jim Smith began the evening with ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’ and kept the classic tunes coming throughout the night.
Committee member and chef Carol Corneau encouraged everyone to taste the different cheeses that were paired with complimentary fruits and crackers on tables in the room. Many cheeses were ones that some may not have tasted before such as smoked Gouda, Co-hill Irish porter, Moroccan spice and whiskey cheddar, to name a few.
Ms. Corneau thanked everyone for coming by, saying “we appreciate your support; we need it in order to continue putting on events like this. Enjoy and cheers!”
At the end of the evening, Joanne Smith, who accompanied her husband, commented that they both enjoyed it—“there was a great community feeling.”
Some of the reviews of those who attended said they had a “really nice evening” and that it was a good time of year to hold it (mid-winter).
Saturday morning brought with it icy road conditions, rainy skies and the cancellation of the outdoor activities which were to include a day for children in the community and beyond to enjoy sliding down ‘snow mountain.’ The big pile of snow was created by the public works crew who are to be thanked for their efforts in sanding the parking lot and entrance way to the building in order to make it safe for those who attended.
Several tables were set up inside the Park Centre for invited businesses and services to feature information and provide safety and winter survival tips to the public. They were the Billings Volunteer Fire Department, Manitoulin Fire Fund, Manitoulin Snowdusters, Kat’s Pet Supplies, Animal Hospital, Rainbow Routes Trails 4 Life snowshoeing program and Manitoulin WildER Med.
The fire department had giveaways and provided information on how to prevent a house fire by installing a smoke detector on each floor of the home.
Apryl Mayer and Aaron Wright, who started Manitoulin Fire Fund two years ago, specialize in after care for victims of a house fire by providing clothing and other essential items to carry a family through the first 72 hours.
Kathy McDonald of the Manitoulin Snowdusters had pamphlets and giveaways of water bottles and whistles to kids and adults alike.
Kathy Jewell of Kat’s Pet Supplies, based in Mindemoya (who is an ongoing supporter of events hosted by the Rec Committee) had coats and other warm clothing items for man’s best friend.
Dr. Paquette had information for the different services her practice in Mindemoya offers.
Mike Moore, project manager from Rainbow Routes (based out of Sudbury), along with Judy Day and Muffie MacIntosh, introduced the public to Trails 4 Life which includes urban poling, snowshoeing and cycling. They provide workshops in Sudbury, Espanola, Massey and Manitoulin Island and partner with the Sudbury District Health Unit to provide new physical activity opportunities to people over the age of 55 with the project. Ms. Day and Ms. MacIntosh spent time with several individuals, including this reporter, to demonstrate the correct way to walk while using the poles to obtain the best results. “One hour of walking,” shared Ms. Day, “is the equivalent of 1,800 abdominal compressions (also known as crunches).”
Upon entering the Park Centre and making one’s way up the stairs, there were several ‘Winter on Manitoulin Island’ photos on display. A collage of six photos of Bridal Veil Falls and other landmarks had a caption that read ‘Brilliant blue of the sky, sparking diamonds of glistening snow. Where else would you rather be?’ A second grouping of several photos read, ‘This is part of God’s wonderous world where we are able to wander free and drink in its incredible winter beauty.’ Thank you Mary Buie and to other members of the public for their contributions.
Several antique snowmobile owners brought their vintage sleds for display. Due to cancellation of the outdoor activities, the number of people in attendance to appreciate them was small.
While people were learning about outdoor survival for both humans and their four legged friends, the canteen was open for business serving ‘Kag’ tails, soup, rice krispie lollipops, hot and cold drinks, sausage on a bun, jumbo hot dogs, baked potatoes and bottomless bowls of chili for the third annual chili cook off. This year’s People’s Choice winner was Mary Lewis who won $50 cash for her efforts.
“There really is no ‘recipe’,” shared Ms. Lewis. “It’s quite simple: ingredients are ground hamburger, onion, green pepper, celery, canned mushrooms, brown and red kidney beans, home made stewed tomatoes, tomato soup, garden cocktail, half a pouch of dry onion soup mix, salt, pepper, cumin, thyme, oregano flakes, white sugar, and chili powder.”
For details of upcoming events in Kagawong visit facebook.com/kagawong1. The next event sponsored by the volunteers of the Rec Committee is Pie Pastry 101 to be held Saturday, March 19 at the Park Centre. Amateur chefs will learn how to make pastry for a two-crust pie. Cost is $20 which includes all ingredients and a pre-made pie to take home. Students are asked to bring a rolling pin, pastry blender and a spatula. For more information call Carol at 705-282-8795. Limited spaces, so reserve your spot now.