HARBOURVILLE, NS - It’s a celebration of community on the Bay of Fundy that’s all about having fun and raising funds to help volunteers maintain the hall and wharf.
The annual Harbourville High Tide Festival returns this year on Aug. 11 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The rain date is Aug. 12. Admission is a free will offering.
Harbourville Restoration Society secretary Brian Van Rooyen said the festival is the organization’s major annual fundraiser, although they hold a number of others each year. These include a fisherman’s breakfast, a lobster roll luncheon during the Shoreline Yard Sale and a Christmas tea. The fundraisers support the society’s operations, which include maintaining the community hall and wharf.
“It’s intended to be a fundraiser but also just a general celebration for the community,” Van Rooyen said. “It’s intended to be a lot of fun for everybody.”
He said the festival serves to heighten the sense of community in Harbourville and to build connections between people. It’s also a chance to showcase the community to visitors from other areas of the Valley or who come from away.
Although it doesn’t last long, one of the attractions that he finds the most fun and the most interesting is the scallop shucking contest. It gets quite competitive as area fishers line up with buckets of scallops to see who can shuck them the fastest. The crowd cheers the shuckers on as the scallops fly in all directions.
This year, instead of having a fish box race, organizers are planning an inner tube race. Van Rooyen said it’s hard to find stable fish boxes that don’t easily tip over so they decided to give tire inner tubes a try. Competitors will attempt to navigate from the harbour entrance to the bridge and back. Van Rooyen said the races are a lot of fun and always draw large, cheering crowds.
He said the live music, which runs all day, is also a festival highlight. Performers include the Hupman Brothers, SWIG, Jon Hemmingway and the Hi Strung Ukuleles. Van Rooyen is a member of the Ukuleles and is looking forward to the performance.
The food is one of the major attractions, with scallop skewers, seafood chowder, burgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob, ice cream and more.
“The scallop skewers are very popular, a lot of people come just for that I think,” Van Rooyen said, pointing out that the fishers donate the scallops that are used.
Other attractions include a beer tent, dunk tank, children’s games and activities, a colouring contest, a silent auction, a jewelry table, a 50-50 draw, a pie baking contest and a pie sale.