WINDSOR, N.S. — Windsor's town crier was left temporarily speechless after a surprise presentation to the longtime, community-minded volunteer was made at the Apple Blossom Festival's opening ceremonies.
After providing the official proclamation, town crier Lloyd Smith settled in to listen to the rest of the opening ceremony May 23. When Alxys Chamberlain, the Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival president, took to the microphone, she surprised Smith with a 40-year volunteer award honouring his commitment to serving as the official crier for the festival.
“I can't emphasize the importance of this enough: volunteers not only make this festival happen, but they're a part of the entire Annapolis Valley. Tonight, we recognize one volunteer in particular as we present them with the volunteer of the year award,” said Chamberlain before announcing Smith as the recipient.
On hand to present the award was the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Arthur J. LeBlanc.
“It's one of the few times I'm almost speechless,” said Smith, with a laugh, as he accepted the award.
Chamberlain told the crowd gathered in the Hants County War Memorial Community Centre in Windsor that the festival is doing well and will be providing visitors with even more to do this year.
“In its beginning stages, the festival had a number of signature events that are still traditions today. Eventually going to three days to four and so forth, the festival now encompasses six days of events for all ages,” said Chamberlain.
“Many hours have been spent flipping through historical souvenir editions, speaking with community members and looking back through records to research all events that had taken place and how to get back to these roots as at one point, there were 150 festival events,” Chamberlain continued.
In 2017, the festival had 15 events. This year, she said, there are 44 events planned.
“The festival, much like our trees in the Valley, is blossoming.”
Hants West MLA Chuck Porter, Windsor's Deputy Mayor Laurie Murley, and the governor general all provided words of congratulations on the festival's longevity and what it means for the Valley region.
Providing music for the official opening ceremonies was The Gilberts — a trio comprised of siblings Frieden, 19, Reuben, 17, and Maisie, 15.
The Gilbert family emigrated to Nova Scotia from the United Kingdom in 2003 and the young Hants County musicians are quickly making a name for themselves in the province's rich music scene.
To view a full listing of events planned for this year's Apple Blossom Festival, visit: http://appleblossom.com/.