The date has been set and the preparations are well underway for the inaugural Outdoor Kitchen Party in St. George.
The event, set for Aug. 13, will be held on the grounds of Fundy Middle and High School at 44 Mount Pleasant Rd. It is being produced by the Fundy Mariners Alumni Association and will run from noon to 10 p.m. It will be a time for young and old to come together to listen to some local talent, have a few laughs and catch up with old friends.
Wilfred Langmaid, who grew up in the area and was in the first graduating class at Fundy High in 1978, will be the musical host.
When asked, Langmaid stated, “Forty-four years is a long time, but I really don’t think about things that way. It will be amazing, though, to see old friends and meet people from the many generations who have gone through their school journeys at Fundy, ECRS, and all area schools through the years.”
Langmaid moved from the area in the 1980s and is anxious to come back to his old stomping grounds.
Langmaid said that, at first, it was thought a band on a Saturday night might be the way to go, but it has progressed into a 10-hour spectacle with a wide array of talented people that should appeal to everybody. He explained there will also be a junior market and a senior market with more than a dozen stalls, food stalls, a memorabilia display, and a silent auction. A beer tent will be open for the last half of the event.
Langmaid stressed that the sparkplug behind getting things off the ground has been Ann Dewar. Dewar was also a graduate who came back to teach at the school and became the first person to graduate and retire from the school.
“The easy part was the recruiting of talent. Once Ann put the word out, it came together quickly with many coming forward with offers to help out,” said Langmaid.
Dewar noted, “This was started as a reunion for Fundy First Five year’s party put on by the class of 1980 and then Wilfred said he would play before the band I was lining up.”
She spoke of some of the challenges involved in pulling it off and one of the biggest was to find an outdoor setting for an event that would allow alcohol. This could only happen if it were for an alumni association. The alumni association is in the process of being formed with the help of the graduates of schools in St. George, Back Bay and Blacks Harbour.
Dewar added the number of volunteers stepping up is remarkable and she is thankful for the support.
There are really two goals for this event. Organizers want to bring people together for a day of fun after the isolation of the last two and a half years, but they also want to give a strong launch to an association that can do a lot of good for future generations of students.
One final thought from Dewar was the influence of Mother Nature and fingers are crossed to have a sunny day with no rain. A tent would be ideal but they tend to be costly and Dewar is hopeful one can be secured cheaply or even donated just in case.
Langmaid is an accomplished musician in his own right, playing in bands in the 1970s and ’80s, and hosting a virtual kitchen party for Student Services at University of New Brunswick in Fredericton since 2020.
The event will bring different styles and influences – everything from new country and pop to gospel, bluegrass, rock, folk, and blues, along with comedy sets according to Langmaid, so it should be a fun program.
“The open mic segment running from 4:15 p.m. to 6 p.m. is going to be a blast,” Langmaid added. “Ross Lee and Mike Chase will offer guitar support to anybody who wishes to come forward to do a song or two – or people can accompany themselves if they prefer.”
An acoustic format has been chosen to make set up and transitions between acts go more quickly and easily.
The musical performances include Martha Barker, Jackie Burns, Mike Chase, Nick and Nicole Constantineau, Ross Lee, Tom Mason and Angela Blackier, Claudette and Zaida Norman, Joshua Osborne, Running Out Of Time, and Natalie Steen. Mark Taylor will provide some levity throughout the day.
The afternoon portion is being labelled “Eastern Charlotte Country,” while the evening is called “Fundy Rocks.” The cost is $10 for adults, $5 ages 10-18, and a non-perishable donation to the food bank for those under 10.