Port Stanley residents revive CALIPSO festival, but support needed
Brent Lale, CTV London
Published Wednesday, July 3, 2019 6:00PM EDT
When the temperature is hot, Port Stanley is all about the sun, sand and swimming, but could there be something more?
Some believe that what's been missing in the village this year, has been added entertainment during holiday long weekends.
So two residents are bringing back an all-time favourite festival – CALIPSO.
“Many people have a lot of great memories of CALIPSO,” says co-chair Marna Berry. ”With no festivals in the village this year, we felt with all the development underway, it was time to spotlight the CALIPSO acronym and what our community has to offer. “
CALIPSO, which stands for Come and Live in Port Stanley Ontario, last took place in 2000, but was at its peak in the mid-80s.
Back then there were tall ships, music, a land parade down near the bridge and the streets were packed. There was also a petting zoo, dunk tank and even classic bed races in the village.
“It was always a great festival and everyone just loved it,” says co-chair Beth Ann Connors. “Marna and I have been here six generations, and we felt like we needed to bring it back.”
Back in December the Port Stanley Business Improvement Area decided not to invest in festivals.
Citing volunteer burnout and not much improvement to the bottom line, they decided to spend their money on promotion and other beautification projects.
However this past weekend, some businesses like the Pierside Pub felt the effects of not having a Canada Day fireworks display.
“There was a lot of disappointment from people that there was no fireworks,” says Pierside owner Brent Noels.
“The positive was the weather was great, so the village was busy anyway, but normally we have a packed rooftop patio and didn't happen this year. I’m excited the fireworks are coming back with CALIPSO.”
But with a month to go, there is no guarantee that the sky will be lit up. Organizers need a final push and some help to raise the funds need to put on an entertaining fireworks display.
“This is all being put on by the community, and we really need some sponsors to come forward, to bring back the fireworks,” adds Connors.