On a hot summer’s day in the Railway City, the 4th annual Elevated Park Picnic sizzled with great company, food, and entertainment. A delicious lunch of chicken breast, bean salad, coleslaw, corn on the cob, and fruit skewer was provided by James Meadows and his team, while local buskers entertained diners throughout the event. Patrons sat on benches and at picnic tables or strolled around the park, appreciating breathtaking views of the north end of St. Thomas while catching up with friends and enjoying busker performances. Featured musicians included Griffin Noriega, The Shangles, Stephanie Heide, Drue Anne and Haleigh, and Gabe Fontana.
Despite the heat, the picnic was well attended and a great fundraising success with approximately 250 people in attendance this year. According to many locals, like Neil Hubert and Robin Grindley, this event has so integrated itself into the local scene that summer in St. Thomas would not be the same without the Railway City’s latest tradition – the annual elevated park picnic. This delicious fundraiser has become an anticipated summer event for many. St. Thomas native Kirsten Martin said, “I come each year with friends to celebrate my birthday. I love seeing the progress of the park every summer and the amazing view.” While Martin now lives in London, she grew up in St. Thomas and still feels a member of the St. Thomas community. Her story is typical of many who go out of their way to support the park each year.
Serge Lavoie, one of the main pioneering forces behind the park, says that over the next year the group aims to install the permanent railing system from one end of the park to the other, making it possible to open the entire park by next summer. “With the financial support of Doug Tarry Homes we will concentrate on getting the whole park open in one last phase. After that, we will continue to add special features such as grass, a play area, lighting, and possibly even a large water zone.”
This year’s sunny picnic also saw the official opening of the Kinsmen Sun Shade, a sculpture designed by Mira Lavoie and built by Scott McKay, located in phase 2. The Sun Shade will be available to view once again during St. Thomas Doors Open on Saturday, Oct. 13 from 10-4. Phase 2 of the park will officially open next year, giving any residents who missed the picnic something to look forward to.