Top News

Privateer Days gives nod to its roots, focusing on creating a festival for the people

Chris Saulnier photos
-Chris Saulnier photo

Playing together

Over the past five months, Catherine Croft has been focused on the idea of people playing together as a community.

Croft is the new chairperson for the annual Privateer Days committee, which formed in January. She quickly headed to the Queens County Museum to look at old festival photos. She says she wanted to figure out what made Privateer Days so special in past years.

“The pictures told everything. It’s the people,” she said.

One of the things being brought back this year for the June 21-23 festival are the bed races, where teams of about five people race decorated beds down Main Street with a passenger on the bed.

On June 21, Merchant’s Day, some of the events will include a soapbox derby and hip-hop rap battle. There will also be cheer demonstrations. From 7-9 p.m., the Reggae Roots are set to play a concert on Main Street. Buskers, retired from Cirque du Soleil, are set to entertain those on Main Street as well.

To accommodate Merchant’s Day and all the events, Croft says part of Main Street will be closed beginning at 1 p.m.

A short distance away in Privateer Park on Henry Hensey Drive, there will be bouncy castles, music, crafts and food, monster-truck rides, and canoe and dorey rides among many other things.

Working together

“One of my happy things this week was Queens County Transit,” said Croft, explaining she wants everyone to be able to enjoy the festival.

Queens County Transit will be offering a free ride service throughout the weekend.

“But also, to get the nursing homes, to bring the seniors not only from here in Liverpool, but out in Caledonia, and they can come see some of the shows,” said Croft.

“It’s working within our community again, and that’s been my main agenda – trying to get the non-for-profits working together.”

Croft says this year’s dunk tank will be available for not-for-profit groups to use for free for two-hour time slots. Groups interested in signing up to use the dunk tank to raise some money can contact Croft.

Committee member Owen Hamlin, who looks after encampment details, has been working on the invasion of Liverpool. Croft explains the Kings Orange Rangers will be reenacting the invasion of Liverpool.

This year’s parade is free, and the route has changed slightly. Rather than starting at Queens Place Emera Centre, the parade is set to begin at the Hank Snow Museum at 11 a.m. From there, the parade will follow its usual route along Bristol Street to Henry Hensey Drive, along Henry Hensey to the fire hall and then back along Main Street to the post office.

“It’s going to be loud because I’ve increased my gun powder,” said Croft about the parade.

Team Privateers

Croft says the committee has gotten through any challenges over the past five months as a team.

“We’ve been calling ourselves Team Privateers for a couple of months now. If I have an issue, we go and handle it within our commission,” she said. “For me, it’s also having the support from local businesses who feel like our vision of what the 2019 Privateer Days is, is a representation of what they’re looking for, too.”

Also involved with helping the committee to organize Privateer Days has been summer intern Allan Mann. Mann has been doing everything from administrative support to helping with events. During Privateer Days, Mann will be in charge of one of the events.

Croft says the festival is still looking for sponsors and volunteers.

Music

A huge part of Privateer Days is the music, and this year music director Louis Zwicker is excited to showcase some bands and musicians that are new to the festival.

Zwicker, who hosts the Indie Hour on Queens County Community Radio (QCCR), began to volunteer with Privateer Days three years ago. The first year in the role, Zwicker learned the ropes by working with Kevin Page.

As music director, Zwicker contacts bands and musicians, organizes the time slots and manages the stage during the festival.

In past years, the music has begun at 1 p.m. This year will be slightly different, with the music slated to start at 3 p.m. on June 21. The music tent is free until 7 p.m., at which point there will be a cover charge. Before 7p.m., the tent is all ages.

Headlining Friday night will be The Sponagle Band.

“It’s going to be a bit of a rock tent on Friday night, which is fantastic,” said Zwicker.

Zwicker says he’s also brought in a number of new acts. One of those, Cape Bretoner Dave Sampson, is set to play at 7 p.m. June 21.

Music on Saturday will begin at the usual 1 p.m. At 8 p.m., the stage will welcome another new band – Andre Pettipas and the Giants.

“They were the 2017 Q104 Rock the Hill contest winners,” Zwicker said.

Andrew Hunter and No Issue will both be returning to the stage June 22. Closing the tent that night will be Kevin Davison, a Valley-based musician whose song outlining the challenges first responders have has drawn many positive reviews.

Zwicker explains his focus for Sunday is to bring new and upcoming artists to Queens County.

“I really wanted to give people the opportunity to hear some of the new music that’s coming out of Nova Scotia and some of the talent that’s bringing that music,” he said.

Jenna Barry, who’s recently returned to music, will also be part of Sunday’s lineup. Returning to the stage will be Halifax artist Maura Whitman, and this time she’ll be with a band.

Set to close the tent June 23 is East Coast Music Awards (ECMA) nominated band The Blue Lane, and the annual fire works display will follow that performance at 10 p.m.

To learn more about Privateer Days, visit the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/privateerdays/ and the website at https://privateerdays.ca/.

Meet the Privateer Days Committee:

  • Chairwoman - Catherine Croft
  • Vice-chairwoman - Jessica Van Dyne-Evans
  • Fundraising chairwoman - Jenn Cosby
  • Finance chairwoman - Linda Rafuse
  • Music director - Louis Zwicker

Recent Stories