Kingsport Gala Days
By Charlene MacLellan, President, Kingsport Community Association
This year Kingsport Gala Days marks its 37th year of fun activities and events in the community.
The first Gala Days took place in 1981, when the community planned a barbecue and party at the Park Pavilion in Kingsport to celebrate the installation of a new playground at the park. The playground was installed by the TelecomPioneers, a volunteer organization of Maritime Tel & Tel. The idea of hosting an annual social event in the community was born at that party. At that time the Kingsport Community Association was already several years into its foundation and the KCA spearheaded the organizing of Gala Days each year. To this day, the KCA, which includes volunteers from our neighbouring community of Medford, continues to advance and promote Gala Days. Each year we host a post Gala Days barbecue at the Pavilion Park to thank everyone for helping with Gala Days and talk about ideas for the next year.
It takes about 75 volunteers to put together and coordinate all the Gala Days activities, and we have fantastic citizens in our community who join together every year to help make our community a better place to live and work.
Planning involves a combination of meetings, participation, and collaboration beginning four months prior to the Gala Days weekend, which is traditionally held on the last Saturday and Sunday of June. A core group of about ten people take the lead on each activity and organize the volunteers to help make the day successful and a good time for everyone.
Since the early days, some activities have changed and some still remain. A few events are favoured by all and are repeated each year, including the chicken barbecue, the fish chowder and strawberry shortcake luncheon put on by the parishioners of Emmanuel United Church and the St. Thomas Anglican Church, live music at the Kingsport waterfront, and of course the ever-popular fireworks over the beach on Saturday night. The Race Against the Tide Fun Run is a very popular Saturday event introduced three years ago, and this year we also have a couple of new activities planned, including a photobooth, with dress-up gear, and a ticket auction.
Fundraising from Gala Days goes to the KCA, a charitable community organization. Funds are used to maintain and improve the community and especially to sustain the fun for everyone at Gala Days each year.
My favourite part of Gala Days is meeting and talking with family, friends, neighbours, and visitors throughout the day. Lots of people have been coming to Kingsport Gala days year after year. I love to hear their stories. Gala Days is a time to have fun and celebrate the purpose and meaning of community living. It’s the time of year that I always feel the most connected to my community and to all the volunteers who contribute to make it all happen.