Blyth Hometown Holiday continues to expand - Oct. 11, 2018
BY DENNY SCOTT
The Blyth Business Improvement Area’s (BIA) Hometown Holiday is continuing to take shape under committee chair and Blyth Festival Artistic Director Gil Garratt.
Garratt presented a report to the BIA executive, including a budget for the event and a schedule for the weekend, though partway through the presentation, it became apparent the committee might have more money than was anticipated.
Both Annie Sparling, who is running the Christmas parade for the event, and Crystal Taylor, who is in charge of the Night Market, reported they had brought in more than budgeted.
Sparling reported that, after creating a committee including Taylor, Garratt, Blyth BIA clergy representative Gary van Leeuwen and Blyth residents Dalton Richmond and Linda Stewart, the event was beginning to take off.
“Dalton is fantastic,” she said. “He is with the Blyth Fire Association and is a young guy and it’s great to have him involved.”
She said local firefighters had agreed to organize floats and patrol barriers on the parade route.
Sparling also noted that response from the community had been exceptional so far, and that she had exceeded her $2,500 sponsorship goal, raising $3,200 as of the meeting.
“Everyone is really excited about having a parade back in Blyth,” she said. “I’ve secured four bands, two pipe bands, the Seaforth Girls Marching Band and Laketown Band out of Goderich.” She explained that Blyth Cowbell Brewing Company wants to sponsor one of the bands, saying the company would pay for a banner in front of the Clinton Pipe Band.
The Laketown Band won’t march in the parade, but will be stationed to play before the event, likely in front of Blyth Memorial Hall.
The dog contest, which will invite dog owners to dress their dogs in the spirit of the holiday, has also generated a lot of positive feedback, Sparling said, with Cowbell and PetValu signing on to sponsor the event.
“We couldn’t be happier,” she said. “It’s coming together very well.”
Taylor brought up the Lighting of the Lights, saying that, as they were scheduled to start at 7 p.m., some of the spectacle behind the event might be lost because the town lights come on near 5 p.m.
Deb Sholdice, BIA treasurer and North Huron Publishing Co. representative, suggested having buy-in from the business owners to have them plug in their own holiday lights at the same time. Garratt suggested using the bell at Memorial Hall to synchronize the event.
A family dinner and dance was also discussed at length by the committee.
Originally brought up by John Stewart, a Blyth Lions member who is also North Huron Council’s representative on the BIA, he wanted to know what kind of challenges such an event would present to the Lions whose own holiday dinner was set a week later.
Stewart said he didn’t want to dissuade the group from hosting its event, but to see how both events could run successfully.
Most present thought it wouldn’t be a problem, pointing to the fact that the BIA dinner was directed at families, while the Lions dinner catered to more of an adult audience.
After some discussion, the BIA decided to make the event significantly different from the Lions dinner to make sure there wasn’t any kind of overlap between the two target audiences.
The Hometown Holiday schedule presented at the BIA meeting is as follows:
• Christmas Night Market from 6- 9 p.m. at Memorial Hall
• Lighting of the Lights 7 p.m. at Memorial Hall
• A (Really) Retro Crooner Christmas by Link Theatre at 8 p.m. at Memorial Hall
• Crafts in Bainton Art Gallery 2-5 p.m.
• Festive Dog/Christmas Canine Costume Contest, location TBD, at 1 p.m.
• Santa Claus Parade from 2-3 p.m.
• Photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus at Memorial Hall from 5:30- 7 p.m.
• Family Dinner and Dance from 7-9 p.m.
• Goderch-to-Guelph Rail Trail (G2G) “Run like the Dickens” fundraiser time TBA.
• Community Breakfast 8-10:30 a.m. to be hosted by Blyth Firefighter’s Association
• Family Christmas movie at Blyth Memorial Hall 10:30 a.m. to noon.