2008 Reunion is ready to go


With the Old Boys and Girls reunion just a week away, organizers say Kincardine is ready for the festivities.
Reunion committee chairperson Laura Haight said Friday most of the organizational work is complete. The committee is still looking for a few volunteers to fill some blank spots, but, the major preparation work is complete.
"We're very close to being ready to go" Haight said. "There are a few little things to work out, but, we're really close."
Mark Yalden started planning with Kincardine's public works department almost two years ago. He's looked after infrastructure and logistics for the reunion - including sanitation, traffic, parking and tents.

The scale of his job has been huge. Plans call for six tents throughout the downtown, 50‑60 portable washrooms, numerous road barricades and traffic signs as well as 2,500 feet of fencing. Kincardine will also be the temporary home of OntarioÆs largest tent - a 200 ft by 100 ft behemoth that will sit near Station Beach.

"We're ready to go," he said. "This project has a huge scale."

Yalden will spend the three days leading up to the reunion putting everything up. He says he needs a lot of help to complete the set‑up and wants anyone who can spare some time to come down and help him out. Municipal staff are lending a hand to the set up and Yalden said they have been supportive throughout the planning.

"(The municipality) has been great. Public works has been really good," he said. "They've co‑operated whenever we needed it."
Haight expects crowds of up to 30,000 people for the reunion's major events: the Callithumpian Parade, Saturday's Pipe Band parade and the shirttail parade. Approximately half of those attending will be visitors and the influx of people means an increased focus of security.

A private security company has been hired to look after the reunion events. Haight estimated the total cost at $23,000 for the five days. The Ontario Provincial Police will also have a strong presence in the area. The OPP's total policing costs have not been confirmed with the community.

Even with the focus on law and order, Haight said the responsibility for enjoying the weekend lies with each person.
"As you grow older, you realize things donÆt have to be done to excess," Haight said. "If you wouldnÆt do something normally, why would you do it on reunion weekend?"

Committee members are urging visitors to take advantage of the bus service running to the different event locations. Yalden said no one should plan to drive towards Kincardine's downtown during the weekend.

All volunteer servers have received Smart Serve training and Haight said every effort will be made to keep people safe. The committee emphasizes the reunion is a family‑friendly event and there are activities planned for all ages.
With two years of planning now behind them, the committee said they are excited to see the reunion kick‑off fast approaching. Armed with an excellent committee, Haight said she's confident everything will run smoothly.

"I'm confident in the people we have (organizing) here," she said. "It's going to (run smoothly). This will be a great event."
Anyone interested in helping Yalden set‑up next week can contact him at 519‑396‑6736.