Getting ready to celebrate

Darrell Cole
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AMHERST - With a week to go before Amherst is in the national spotlight, officials from the Cumberland YMCA can hardly contain their enthusiasm.

"Preparations are going very well and we really don't forsee any problems at this point," co-ordinator of the local organizing committee Faith Flemming said Thursday. "We're very excited about how things are coming together and how the community has rallied around Amherst and the YMCA."

The Kraft Celebration Tour, marking TSN's 25th anniversary, is making its only Nova Scotia stop in Amherst on Saturday, Aug. 29, with the TSN's flagship program SportsCentre holding a live broadcast from Victoria Street at 7 p.m. that day.

Planning has been going at a hectic pace since Amherst beat out Dartmouth in the community challenge last month. Crews from TSN were in Amherst a couple of weeks ago filming various segments and officials from Kraft Canada have been working closely with the host committee to prepare for the event.

The Kraft-TSN set will arrive in Amherst Friday with Victoria Street, between Church and Havelock, being closed through to the end of the festivities Saturday night. As well, TSN hosts Jay Onrait and Dan O'Toole will be in Amherst on Friday making a number of appearances.

"We have a great team of people that's pulling this all together," managing director Trina Clarke said. "We're working with Cinders, Sobeys, Kraft, CREDA and the town. It has been a great experience."

Festivities on Victoria Street begin at 4 p.m. with various interactive games. There'll be children's activities including face painting, sidewalk chalk drawings, inflatables and other events. There will be a skateboard demonstration and the Amherst Ramblers will participate in pick-up street hockey games with area children.

The official welcome and Bull's-Eye barbecue begins at 5 p.m. while Kraft Canada will present the $25,000 winning cheque to the YMCA just before the TSN broadcast at 7 p.m.

There will also be live entertainment in Victoria Square including Nicknameless, Big Deal and Grindstone, while there'll be autograph sessions with TSN personalities, the Ramblers and local sports celebrities.

Flemming is hoping there will be hundreds of enthusiastic, sign-waving people on hand for the festivities. She's urging people to bring along homemade signs and is hoping sports teams will wear their team jerseys.

Participants are encouraged to bring a blanket or small folding chair. There will be limited seating for seniors.

Organizations: YMCA, Kraft Canada, Kraft-TSN Sobeys Big Deal

Geographic location: AMHERST, Victoria Street, Nova Scotia Victoria Square Grindstone

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