ANTIGONISH,N.S. - Still wondering where to go to ring in the New Year?
How about the Royal Canadian Legion Arras Branch 59 in Antigonish, located in the East Coast Credit Union Social Enterprise Centre, where you can say so long to 2018 and hello to 2019, to the music of one of Antigonish’s favourite musical acts – the Working Class Band.
Tickets for the 19 and older New Year’s Eve party are available at Antigonish 5 ¢ to $1 Store and the legion, with part of the proceeds from the event going towards Antigonight: Art after Dark Festival.
The festival, put on by Antigonish Culture Alive (ACA), takes place annually in the fall, at various locations in downtown Antigonish.
ACA board chair Sarah O’Toole, one of the organizers of the New Year’s Eve event, said the Working Class Band has “generously offered to help us with fundraising throughout the year.”
She noted this will be the first time Antigonight folks will be hosting an event in the newer legion space.
“The sound is great, the dance floor is awesome,” she said, noting organizers are looking forward to getting into the space to decorate and “Alex [Cameron, legion manager], Jeff [Teasdale, Canadian Association of Community Living executive director] and the gang are great to work with.”
“In addition to the dance and concert, we’ll run a 50-50, a coat-check and people can make donations; so anyone looking to get a charitable tax donation in by the end of 2018 will have a chance,” O’Toole said.
“We do get great funding from the municipality, the province and federal government, but we also need to demonstrate community support, as all these things do,” she added.
“We have really generous sponsors for the festival in September, but these fundraising pieces really go a long way to help us begin to plan and we’ve already started planning for next fall and who will be involved there.”
O’Toole noted recent media stories, one unfortunate and one positive, are reminders that although Antigonight happens for a night or two in the fall, it generates ideas and actions which resonate throughout the year.
The unfortunate story O’Toole noted was the piano damaged outside of the People’s Place Library. It was first set-up in the location for a festival and the decision was made to keep it there for community enjoyment; an action which was happening until the recent vandalism.
The more positive story was the blanket being raffled by the Knitters and Spinners group with proceeds going to the Friends of the Antigonish Library (FoAL), who support the People’s Place Library.
O’Toole talked about the group’s connection to Antigonight.
“Knitters and Spinners originated out of the library and we’ve always had them involved in Antigonight in some way. They’ve ‘yarn bombed’ different pieces of downtown infrastructure – parking meters, street lamps,” she said as an example of the group’s past participation.
“This year, the group leader Elizabeth Glinz wanted to let them come up with their own project. So the idea for this Antigonight was; they would bring the spinning wheels and spin wool into yarn and knit a square of the blanket. Some of the group were able to do this all in one night, some a little longer.”
Just two examples of how Antigonight is reaching the potential its founders envisioned, O’Toole noted.
“When the festival was started it was about providing an opportunity for people to see what art mediums are available and people are doing, and we always wanted it to become more than just the festival,” she said. “[Have it] about people generating ideas and having projects continue.”
For more on ACA and Antigonight, visit the website antigonishculturealive.ca and respective Facebook pages.