International Festival NOT In Jeopardy - Dec. 06, 2012
CALAIS, Maine (WQDY NEWS) -- The 2013 International Festival is not in jeopardy says the mayor of St. Stephen.
On Wednesday, the American co-chair of the festival that celebrates the friendship between Calais, Maine and St. Stephen, New Brunswick voiced her concern after the few volunteers there were on the Canadian side had resigned -- and things were on hold.
"It is possible that Festival could not exist or it could be a Calais-only event. We're really looking for volunteers on the Canadian side," said Marcia Hayward.
But reaction came quickly on Thursday after the story was aired on WQDY-WALZ and posted here.
"The festival is not in jeopardy," St. Stephen Mayor John Quartermain told us.
"The interest has waned for the last few years but St. Stephen is an international town like it has been for over 200 years so we want to continue to be identified as an international community with our friends in Calais," the mayor said.
A lot of the problem is finding new volunteers.
"We don't have a refresh of volunteers. It seems like we always have the same volunteers for everything and they need a substitute so they can take a little break."
"But we have some volunteers that are interested in taking this over and they have some ideas," Quartermain said.
"It's going to be a more family-oriented event on this side anyway and hopefully it will expand."
The Chocolate Fest is a separate entity that occurs around the time of the International Homecoming Festival.
"We want to support Chocolate Fest but this International Festival, I think it's something that's necessary between the two communities. It shows our friendship across the two countries and I think it's unparalled across the U.S. and Canada -- the relationship between these border communities," said Quartermain.
"I think I'm going to attend the next (festival committee) meeting," he added.
Hayward had been concerned on Wednesday but was relieved on Thursday with the rapid response.
"We got some serious positive results," and elated Hayward said.
Hayward said she was very glad to hear St. Stephen's mayor say the festival was not in jeopardy.
"The Calais committee is -- well, we would be doing back flips if we could," she mused.
Could be a new event.
But seriously, the International Festival committee holds meetings and anyone can attend. They're the third Tuesday of every month and they alternate from the American side to the Canadian side.
Their next meeting is Jan. 15 at 6 p.m. U.S. time at the Calais Motor Inn.
STORY: Tom McLaughlin WQDY-WALZ firstname.lastname@example.org