St. Stephen – Now that 2020 is behind us, the Town of St. Stephen can begin planning for events to commemorate the Town’s 150th birthday in 2021 (1871-2021). Michelle Vest, events coordinator for the Town of St. Stephen, said the planning of the celebrations began last January, but due to COVID-19, they had to put plans on hold, at least for the time being. Now, the St. Stephen 150 committee is back in meetings once again, and they already have a few events planned, as well as other ideas for events to take place in the coming months.
The first virtual, live streamed event was held on New Year’s Day to kick off the year of celebrations in town, and featured local performers Running Out of Time, David Humphreys, 29 & Holding, Shawn Richard, Hayden Wiebe, and Full Circle. Darren McCabe offered up a brief history of the Town of St. Stephen, and the Great Chocolate Moose and his bride, Tiffany were also on hand for the first of many 150th birthday events, reading stories to the kids.
Vest said the committee has put together a commemorative booklet about the history of the Town of St. Stephen. The committee is working with St. Croix Printing & Publishing to create this booklet, which will be jam-packed with photos and interesting information and anecdotes about the Town.
The Town’s actual birthday is May 17. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has not yet been decided what will be taking place on that date to mark this historic day, and Vest said it has been difficult to plan any sort of events since the pandemic started last March. As of right now, the plan is to have a combination of virtual and live events taking place throughout the year, but because the provincial recovery phase tends to be ever-changing, making concrete plans is proving to be challenging.
“We still don’t know what we’re doing for our birthday,” said Vest. “It’s really hard to plan, not knowing restrictions. So, for our actual May 17 birthday, for that weekend, we still are not sure. There will be something for sure, I just don’t know what.
“We’re very nervous that this is going to continue throughout 2021. As you know, planning an event and then having to change it at the last minute because we’ve been given a notice that as of midnight all the rules change has been very challenging. It’s definitely been interesting for planning events.”
One event being planned and which can definitely take place for the 150th birthday celebration is a gardening contest. Residents will be encouraged to plant many different varieties of flowers around their properties. The gardens will then be judged, with the winner walking away with a cash prize (amount is yet to be determined). Vest said the committee hasn’t yet decided how the judging will take place, but are considering an American Idol style of judging, where the judges each count for one vote, and the public can vote as well.
There will be a couple of ways to be able to enjoy the garden contest. Vest said photos of all entries will be on the Town of St. Stephen Facebook page. The Town is also encouraging people to drive around look at the various gardens in front of St. Stephen homes. This event is still in the planning stages.
“We’re actually going to encourage people to drive around,” said Vest. “We’re not sure how we’re going to do the judging yet. We were thinking we’re going to do a poll. People can do a poll and vote for their favourite, kind of like American Idol style, where your judges each count for one and then the population counts for a vote. We’re going to give a cash prize. We’re going to try and make the Town as pretty as we can, and we’re going to do a big garden contest.”
Vest said the committee came up with another idea that would involve partnering with the Charlotte County Museum. She said they plan to reach out to the museum about this idea, adding they will elaborate more on it once they have spoken with someone from the museum.
“We haven’t had a chance to talk to them about it yet, so I can’t tell you before I tell them what I want to do. But, we are looking at partnering up with the museum. We plan to work with the museum very closely.”
So, even though COVID-19 has made it difficult for regions across Canada to plan events, St. Stephen will be celebrating its 150th birthday in style, with virtual and live events. Vest said the committee is going to keep on working to ensure celebrations go forward, and there are fun events for all St. Stephen residents to take part in.
“The one that we’re going to work on with the Charlotte County Museum should be able to happen no matter what,” said Vest. “We did our kickoff. The commemorative booklet is happening no matter what. The garden tour contest will be happening no matter what. From there, we’re just going to keep working. We’re kicking around a few ideas.”
If you are interested in planning an event or activity to help celebrate St. Stephen’s 150th birthday, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, and don’t forget to follow the news at St. Stephen 150 on Facebook.