© Thomas Becker - Amherst Daily News
From left - Past chairman Denis Brown (2009-2010), current chairman Wally Vaters, co-ordinator Lee Fleming and past chairman Claude Hudson (2011-2012) celebrate the eighth annual HarbourFest
PUGWASH – For years the Pugwash HarbourFest has continued to bring in large crowds across Canada to visit the waterfront town and this weekend will be no different as the eighth annual event kicks off.
The HarbourFest is a weekend long festival with attractions for all ages, Wally Vaters, chairman of the event said.
“There’s definitely something for everyone from two to 102.”
Some of the activities include a dragonboat challenge, HarbourFest 5K race, motorcycle rally and parade, bathtub boat races, soapbox derby, the vendor village and farmers market and children’s activities.
In 2006, Pugwash decided to host a festival on the waterfront to showcase the town’s harbour to boaters in hopes of eventually having a full service marina.
“It’s a long term project and we’re continuing to make strides. We’re in discussions on that topic with the government right now and at the end of the day that’s the objective,” Lee Fleming, event co-ordinator said.
Pugwash boasts two major festivals, the Gathering of the Clans on Canada Day and the HarbourFest at the end of July. HarbourFest is easily one of the biggest events in the community. The economic spinoff is very beneficial, Fleming said.
“Some residents love it but others love a quiet sleepy town but in general the businesses flourish and it’s usually their best day of the year.”
However, without the support of the Pugwash community the festival would be nothing more than a dream, Fleming said.
“I love active communities, I’ve been organizing community events for many parts of my life and this is just fantastic. I have a community to work with who are just fantastic. Pugwash kicks butt. It makes me feel proud to be part of an organization with such great volunteers."