MAITLAND – Residents and visitors to this small community are heading back to 1874 this weekend with the annual Maitland Launch Festival.
John Hicks said the festival is now in its 28th year but will once again bring the launch of the largest wooden boat built in Canada to the forefront.
“By and large, it’s a lot of the same features as previous years,” said Hicks, about the festival that runs from Friday to Sunday. “We will have our parade, which is non-motorized and represents the processional of people coming to the village for the launch, as well as the launch, and the museum will have a variety of presentations, such as sea-faring skills and life skills that were present back in that day.”
Over the past number of years, Hicks said the attendance numbers have dwindled, but organizers are doing the “best that we can.”
“It’s very difficult to beef it up. We’re almost faced with the same thing churches are.”
He said there has been talk about adding new features, but it’s somewhat difficult when things are centered around a certain timeframe.
A new play – The Victorian Time Machine – will be featured on a daily basis, and the festival will also include luncheons, art displays, bake sale, a 4-H woodsmen challenge, supper, whiskey barrel races, and even a hoedown.
In previous years, rain has cancelled the re-enactment of the launch, which sees a 17-foot replica launched in the water, but it’s also a water-dependent event.
If rain cancels the launch on Saturday, which is scheduled for around noon, Sunday’s tide times are different, so organizers aren’t sure if it would be rescheduled if rained out.
Maitland Launch Festival schedule of events
Wednesday: The Victorian Time Machine, 7-8 p.m., St. David’s United Church
Thursday: The Victorian Time Machine, 7-8:30 p.m., St. David’s United Church
Friday: Sea Serpent Luncheon and Lighthouse Art Display, 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m., St. David’s United Church Hall; The Victorian Time Machine, 7-8:30 p.m., St. David’s United Church
Saturday: Events at Lawrence House Museum, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Non-motorized Victorian Era Costumed Processional, 11 a.m., beginning at Bing’s Eatery and ending at Lawrence House Museum; Everything Blueberry Bake Sale, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Dawson Dowell Park; Official Welcome and Re-enactment of the Banishing of the Whiskey Peddlars, 11:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Lawrence House Museum northside porch; Re-enactment of the Launch of the William D. Lawrence, 12-12:30 p.m., across the road from the Lawrence House Museum; 4-H Woodsman’s Challenge, 2 p.m., Lawrence House Museum grounds; church supper, 3-6 p.m., Holy Trinity Anglican Church Hall; Whiskey Barrel Races, 4 p.m., Dawson Dowell Park; The Victorian Time Machine, 7-8:30 p.m., St. David’s United Church; Captain’s Hoe Down, 9 p.m.-1 a.m., Maitland Fire Hall
Sunday: Everything Blueberry Bake Sale, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Dawson Dowell Park; Sea Serpent Luncheon, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m., St. David’s United Church Hall; The Victorian Time Machine, 2-3:30 p.m., St. David’s United Church
Boy travels back in time in new play
By Raissa Tetanish
Truro Daily News
MAITLAND – Sadie Rosgen’s newest play brings modern time together with 1874.
‘The Victorian Time Machine’ launches on Wednesday in Maitland, and runs until the final day of this weekend’s Maitland Launch Festival.
“I wanted to write something that was contemporary but still a period piece,” said Rosgen, adding a friend of hers suggested a story about a ghost in a house.
“I thought, ‘nope, that’s been done,’ so I decided on time travel. It’s set in 2014, but traveling back to 1874, which is the year of the historical launch of the William D. Lawrence. It just made a lot of sense.”
Having been inspired by the younger generation (those 16 and under) in the community, Rosgen’s latest play features a cast of at least a dozen, with more than half of those being younger than 16.
The story is about a boy and his family who move into the village, wherein the boy finds a time machine in the house.
“They travel back and forth, and, not giving too much away, he meets a familiar person to him and they continue to travel between then and modern day,” she said, adding all time travel rules apply, such as not changing anything in the past.
Hosted by the CHart Society, which promotes and supports culture, heritage and the arts, the play will be performed at the St. David’s United Church.
“I would love to see that space converted to an art space and I’m really hoping this play will prove that,” she said. “This year, the play is free for those 16 and under. I really pushed for that. Usually it’s 12 and under but I really want to grow the arts in the community.”
The performance runs from 7 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, which is also pay what you will night. Performances from Thursday to Saturday run from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and admission is $10 per person. Sunday will see a matinee performance, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. All performances other than Wednesday’s will be followed by light refreshments with the actors and collaborators.
For more information or tickets, call 261-2200 or 261-2667.