Published on September 15, 2013
Bruce Smith and his son Liam Smith of Glace Bay admired some of the handcrafted items on display at the 67th annual Port Morien Fair on Saturday. Greg McNeil - Cape Breton Post
Published on September 14, 2013
Madison King was the youngest server at the annual ham and scalloped potato supper hosted by St. Paul's Church as part of the Port Morien Fair.
PORT MORIEN â€” The Port Morien Fair had something different for everybody and meant something different to everybody.
The 67th edition of the annual celebration of the culture and craftsmanship of the scenic seaside community was held for most of Saturday featuring old-fashioned exhibits, baked goods, handcrafted items and parades.
Catherine Van De Van did her best to experience it all, as she does every year as a tribute to her family's roots in Port Morien.
"My father was born here in 1899, so we come whenever there is something going on in Port Morien," the South Bar resident said while looking through some of the items for sale at the fair.
"We come when my kids come from Alberta or wherever. It is a very important place so we come here all the time."
Her father was painter Bill Daye, whose work can be viewed at Cape Breton University. He was also the featured artist of the 2011 Pierscape festival in Whitney Pier where he also lived.
Daye was born in Port Morien after his family sailed there from Neils Harbour.
"My grandfather was a fisherman, he had his own schooner. When fishing was low, he packed up his schooner, my grandmother and all the kids except my father and sailed from Neils Harbour all the way around to Port Morien."
When the schooner arrived in Port Morien her grandfather was greeted by a fish broker who gave him a job and his family a place to live on Wharf Road, which is now no more. Her father was born not long after and Port Morien has remained an important place to her family, she said.
"We love the fair. If it wasn't raining we would walk on the sandbar, that's another part of our journey here every year."
Though Van De Van has seen many Port Morien fairs, Saturday's edition was the very first for Estelle Ditzel, who believed that the 67th edition of the fair on her 67th birthday was too much of a coincidence to pass up.
"I just read about it and was looking for a place to come where there would a lot of people," said the Sydney River resident who was selling a large variety of items at the fair.
"Everything just seemed to fit right in with my birthday and all. I couldn't say no to that."
Her first fair turned out to be a great experience.
"It's a pleasure to be here. The people in this community are beautiful."
While most activities took place at the Royal Canadian Legion branch 55, an very important aspect of the day was hosted by St. Paul's Church when the ladies auxiliary hosted its popular ham and scalloped potatoes supper.
Like other fair events, it was a great opportunity for people to meet new friends or catch up with some old ones.
"I think everybody enjoys the camaraderie because it is like everything else â€” some people don't see one another unless they come to the fair," said auxiliary member Norma Peach.
"They renew acquaintances and have a good time, and the noise level just keeps getting louder and louder as the dinner goes on. Everybody is having fun."
Saturday was the third consecutive year the ladies auxiliary hosted the main dinner of the fair, picking up the work of the firemen's auxiliary, which had been hosting it for many years prior.
This year, the small group of 12 members prepared more than120 dinners.
"It's a busy time. We spent all day (Friday) preparing the hall, preparing the potato scallop, getting the ham chopped up and then we were back here at 9:30 this morning because the pies had to sliced and everything had to be heated up."
She said the hard work is worth it because people look forward to the dinner and it turns out to be an important fundraiser for St. Paul's.