2018 Kincardine Reunion a complete success

by Barb McKay


After a year of planning and preparation, the 2018 Kincardine Reunion has come and gone, but it was an event that will be talked about for months.


The Independent caught up with reunion co-chairs Dave Patterson and Jen Cook in Victoria Park on Sunday and they had only positive things to say about the weekend.


“We can’t call it anything but a complete and huge success,” Patterson said.


The Friday and Saturday night concerts were sold out with close to 4,000 people in attendance each night. The weather was perfect and the entertainment was excellent.


“After what we learned from Friday night, Saturday night ran so smoothly,” Cook said. “I think everyone was really happy with it.”


In all, there were 70 events and activities that ran throughout the weekend. All performances of Kincardine Calls were sold out, as was the Walker House escape room. All the events, including Kincardine Idol, the ambassador competition, the fashion show, celebrity slo-pitch tournament and the bed races were very well-attended. The zipline from Queen’s Lookout to Rotary Park was one of the most popular activities of the weekend and there was a constant and lengthy line-up.


On Friday morning, reunion committee members, supporters and local dignitaries gathered in Reunion Park to kick off the festivities.


“It is truly an honour for me as mayor to welcome everyone home for the 2018 Old Boys and Old Girls Reunion,” said Mayor Anne Eadie. “It’s so exciting. We have great community support, but it is events like this that make you appreciate how great it is. I’d like to thank the committee for its blend of new events and traditional events.”


“I want to thank the municipality,” Patterson said. “They’ve supported us from day one and they’ve gotten the town in tip top shape.”


Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson said she can remember attended several past Kincardine reunions and is taking notes for Teeswater’s reunion next year.


“Congratulations, Kincardine, for bringing it home,” she said. “Dave and Jen and all the volunteers, I tip my hat to you because you can’t have an event like this without volunteers. I can feel the vibe and excitement growing and that is because Kincardine people are proud of where they live.”


“Some communities don’t do reunions, but for the communities that do have events like this it is ver worthwhile and meaningful,” Huron-Bruce MP Ben Lobb said. Lobb, an avid baseball player, took part in the celebrity slo-pitch game on Saturday.


Events ran smoothly thanks to a competent committee and an army of volunteers.


“Our committee has been going 24/7,” Patterson said on Sunday. They have just been fantastic, every single one of them. We worry that they’re not going to get enough sleep, but we are all pulling in the same direction.”


“Everyone has worked together and any kind of hiccup seemed to get solved right away,” Cook added.


While it was hard work, committee members were able to enjoy themselves.


“I became a bartender,” Cook said. “I had never done that before and it was quite entertaining.”


“For me, the (Calithumpian) parade was a highlight,” Patterson said. “The parade was fantastic. There were a lot of people along the streets and I heard nothing but good things. The floats were great.”


For many, the Sunday night Shirttail Dance was the highlight of the weekend. Nearly 11,000 tickets were sold for the event at Connaught Park. While there was no official parade, thousands of dressed up partygoers walked together down Huron Terrace and Broadway to the park. Dozens of police officers lined the streets to make sure people reached the park without incident.


The reunion wrapped up on Monday with bed races on Queen Street in the morning, float races in the afternoon and a firework display over the lake at dusk.


Looking back on the weekend, Patterson and Cook said that they are glad of the opportunity to lead the 2018 Reunion.


“I love being part of this community and I’m so proud to call this town my home,” Cook said. “Congratulations to the committee – I think we’ve done a pretty good job of bringing it home.”


“We’ll be here to mentor the next bunch, as (past chair Laura Haight) has done such as good job for us,” Patterson said. It’s a lot of work, but at the end of the day it’s very rewarding.”