LITTLE HARBOUR: This Richmond County community will be hosting an unusual fundraiser next month.
On August 24, the community of Little Harbour will be hosting “Harbour Wars” to raise money for a great cause. The rain date is August 25.
Organizer Alayne Martell said the idea arose a year ago when a group of volunteers got together to discuss ways of raising money for the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation’s Cancer Patient Care Fund, which could also showcase the local fishing industry.
Martell said the fund is important in helping with expenses not covered by medical insurance and the group wants to raise awareness of the fund, which has given $2 million back into the community to help those affected by the disease.
“Everyone has been affected by cancer in some way or another across Cape Breton,” Martell said. “As well, our community is a very big fishing community and has a thriving fishing industry, so this is a way of combining the two with a focus on showcasing the local fishing industry; something fun, unique and new, with the funds going towards this cancer patients care fund.”
After meeting regularly, by the fall, the group came up with the name “Harbour Wars” with designs to make it an annual event and eventually to open the fishermen’s skills competition to harbours across Cape Breton. They also decided to make it a one-day event this year.
“This is the inaugural year and we’re focusing on Richmond County,” Martell explained. “There are about 19 fishing harbours in Richmond County, and then the fishermen’s skills competition kind of came to be and we hashed around what kind of activities we would have, and then the name was born.”
Since that time, Martell said the group has been going “full-steam ahead” planning various events and activities for the competition in which the winner claims a top prize of $1,000. The winner will be determined by a points system from each activity. Participants must be part of the fishing industry, as a boat operator, deck hand, truck driver, or fish plant worker and each team must raise a minimum of $400 in pledges for the cancer care fund.
“We’re doing cod fish shuffle, which basically is men or women dressed in their oil gear and they carry two cod fish for a distance, then they hand it off to their teammate and there are teams of four fishermen. The other competitions are fish filleting… they’ll be judged on quality of the filleting. There’ll be dory races, and tug-of-war, and nautical obstacle course where there will be things like stacking lobster traps for a distance.”
Martell said the group has been in regular contact with and has received much needed support from the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation.
Martell said the event has also received excellent support from the local harbour authority, Lobsters ‘R Us which is providing the venue, as well as members of the L’Ardoise Men’s Club who helped in the planning.
“The fishermen’s skills competition is kind of the crown jewel of the event, and then we also held a nautical photo contest leading up the event, which we launched a couple of months back,” Martell said. “The winning photo from that nautical photo contest, we’re going to have a silent auction so that will be professionally framed. We also have some businesses that have donated various prizes for the silent auction.
“We’re also going to have entertainment, there’s going to be a beer tent, and we have a concession stand where we’re going to showcase some of the fresh local seafood, including things like fish cakes, lobster rolls and fish chowder.”
In addition to those revenue generators, organizers will hold a 50/50 draw and have also printed up hats and t-shirts for sale.
Martell has reported a “tremendous response” from the Richmond County business community, with over 40 organizations and businesses sponsoring the event. She extended an invitation for residents of Richmond County to come out and help a good cause, while taking in some interesting events.
“Now we’re on the push to get the awareness up that people can come out to the event.”
Martell added that the event has launched social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as a new Web site: www.harbourwars.ca.