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'Pretty exciting' as Yarmouth gets ready to host national Communities in Bloom event

A fitting scene for a town that is getting set to host the national Communities in Bloom symposium.
A fitting scene for a town that is getting set to host the national Communities in Bloom symposium. - Tina Comeau

As the countdown continues towards the Communities in Bloom national symposium to take place in Yarmouth in late September, the chair of Yarmouth’s Communities in Bloom committee says things are falling into place for the event, which will draw people not only from across Canada but from a number of other countries as well.

“Everything’s looking good,” said Wade Cleveland. “Now it’s just a matter of waiting, I guess. You get nervous as it gets closer. We’re really looking forward to it. It’s going to be great. Hopefully the weather’s fine.”

This is the 25th-anniversary year for the national symposium, which is coming to Yarmouth for the first time.

Organizers expect about 250 delegates to attend.

“They are coming from all over, from one end of the country to the other,” Cleveland said. “There’ll be delegates from the United States, Slovenia, Hungary, Italy ... the U.K., so there are people from all over coming, pretty exciting.”

The symposium dates are Sept. 25-28, although Cleveland describes Sept. 25, which is a Wednesday, as a “pre-day,” an opportunity for people to register and maybe do a bit of touring.

Thursday, Sept. 26, is when things really pick up. That evening at the Mariners Centre – the main site for symposium activities – there will be a kitchen party and lobster boil.

“It’s a cliché, I suppose,” Cleveland said, “but we want to put our best foot forward and so we really want to show the Nova Scotia and Yarmouth hospitality.”

The lineup for Friday, Sept. 27, includes a community showcase. At last year’s community showcase in Strathcona County, Alberta, which hosted the national symposium in 2018, the community showcase was a chance for Yarmouth to promote itself a bit in advance of hosting this year’s national event. (Wood Buffalo will host the symposium in 2020.)

Friday’s activities also will include musical entertainment and the presentation of some local awards.

Saturday, Sept. 28, will be a big day.

“Mark Cullen will be down,” Cleveland said. “He’s pretty well known as a national gardener. He’s down for what’s called the town hall at 10 o’clock on Saturday morning and then the big awards banquet and show will be happening, starting in the afternoon, where all the national awards are given out, and that will be at the Mariners Centre too.”

Symposium delegates will have a chance to learn more about the area by going on tours that will be offered.

The event, of course, will be good for the local economy, given the number of visitors who will be around at that time, Cleveland said.

Yarmouth had been trying to get the national Communities in Bloom event for a number of years, going back to when the late Ken Langille chaired the Yarmouth committee. (Langille, a longtime Yarmouth town councillor, died in March 2016.)

“His dream was to get it down here, so it started back then,” Cleveland said.

With just about any big event, volunteers play a key role and the symposium is no exception. Cleveland says they have a good volunteer contingent.

“Of course, we have the Communities in Bloom group,” he said. “We also have the Yarmouth Garden Club. We have a lot of individuals who have come forward. The Wesleyan Church has a volunteer group and they’ve come forward ... We’ve had everyone step up. It’s a town where people step up.”

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