by Viola Savage
In February 2008, several members of the Facebook group “McNamee on the Mighty Miramichi” began discussions regarding a McNamee reunion – perhaps an afternoon picnic at the Footbridge. Support for this idea provided the momentum that brought us to August 14, 15, & 16, 2009 – a three day event packed with fun and activities, certainly a long way from the initial afternoon picnic idea. An August 19, 2008 public meeting at the McNamee Recreation Center for all those interested in organizing a homecoming event led to the formation of an ad hoc planning committee. And, to coin that old expression, “the rest is history.”
During the weekend of August 14, 15 & 16, 2009, more than 600 people descended upon McNamee, NB and surrounding communities (Priceville, Porter Cove, Ludlow, New Bandon, Carroll’s Crossing and the villages of Doaktown and Boiestown) to attend this “first ever” homecoming event. Attendance numbers alone speak for the success of Come Home to the River – McNamee 2009. People who attended the homecoming came from not only the Miramichi area and NB but also travelled from all parts of Canada, the United States, Europe, Brazil and Peru.
The weekend opened early Friday morning with onsite registrations and continuous day-long Meet & Greet festivities. A Friday evening Jamboree hosted by Waldo Dudley & his band, Miramichi Country, played to a full house at the McNamee Recreation Center featuring numerous and talented artists from the area.
Delicious and extremely well organized meals for the homecoming weekend were provided by St. James Anglican Church, Scouts Canada (BBQ), United Church of Boiestown, McNamee Pentecostal Assembly Church, Ludlow Recreation Council, McNamee Pentecostal Youth Group (BBQ), McNamee Orange Lodge, Carroll’s Crossing Anglican Church, Boiestown Lion’s Club and The Masonic Lodge.
The busy and enjoyable homecoming weekend included ball games, canoe races, a golf tournament, jam session at the Footbridge, afternoon tea at the Wilson Family homestead, a Saturday morning Country Market, entertainment by Perley the Magician, continuous weekend activities for children, story telling at the Wilson homestead, interdenominational Church service and gospel concert on Sunday. Sunday activities also included a memorial tree planting ceremony (2 flowering crab trees donated by Upper Miramichi Rural Community which flank the monument designed by David Price Jr.) and dedication by Rev. Cole Price of the Come Home to the River monument. The monument houses a time capsule which will be opened in 2044. Just to name a few items included in the time capsule – stories & paintings by children who attended Come Home to the River event, Rev. Cole Price’s dedication speech, photographs, a copy of Come Home to the River book, and a list of registered homecoming attendees.
The homecoming committee extends a special and sincere thank you to everyone who helped us during this past year. We certainly could not have done this without your help.
Chairperson – Lorne Amos, Gray Rapids, NB
Secretary & Registration Coordinator – Sharon (Stewart) Clark, Fredericton, NB
Treasurer & Fundraising Coordinator – Viola (O’Donnell) Savage, Douglas, NB
Alternate Chair – Floyd Amos, Fredericton, NB
Public Relations – Roger Clowater, Aurora, ON
Volunteer Coordinator – Euphemia (O’Donnell) Black, Boiestown, NB
Committee Members At Large:
Irva (Price) Larsen, Fredericton, NB
Jimmy Stewart, Boiestown, NB
James Dudley, Cambridge Narrows, NB
Olga Ross, Boiestown, NB
Bev Gaston, Doaktown, NB
Karen Swim, alternate member for Doaktown, NB