Celebrating the Dogwoods of Queens

Nick
Nick Moase
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Queens County's many dogwoods are taking centre stage on July 5 for the first Dogwood Festival. 

A festival celebrating the dogwoods of Queens County is coming this Saturday July 5 at Trinity Anglican Hall. 

The celebration takes place from 2 to 4 p.m. at Trinity Anglican Hall. The entry fee is $10.

Karen Allen, the organizer of the event, says they wanted to start small to celebrate the Dogwoods of Queens County. They teamed up with the Mersey Band, who will be performing during the tea.

Funds from the event will go to the Mersey Band to help support their Youth Band Camp.

While the Mersey Band performs, patrons can enjoy a cup of tea, peruse the silent auction and look at a slideshow of some of the dogwoods of Queens County.

Before the turn of the century though, there weren't many dogwoods in Queens. One of the few belonged to Christopher Clarke, who bought his in 1975. By the late 1990's, he says it grew quite big and his house was a popular spot for people to drive by to look at it when it bloomed.

During his first tenure as Mayor of the Region of Queens the federal government created the Millennium Project, which gave grants for projects to celebrate the upcoming new millennium.

One of the projects that came out of it was the signage and slogans that each community picked. It is why places such as Kempt now have "100 years of Strawberry Suppers" on their signs as you enter the community.

The committee wanted to do something else though.

"We wanted something tangible that everyone could have for the millennium," says Clarke.

He suggested selling dogwoods at a low cost, and the committee agreed.

They proved quite popular. Over 700 were sold in 1999 and 2000, and at one point they had tapped all of the dogwoods available in Southwest Nova Scotia.

Now Queens County has become known, among other things, as a destination for people to come to when the dogwoods are in bloom, says Clarke.

Perhaps only mistake, he says, was blooming time for dogwood coincided with Privateer Days at the time. However Privateer Days has moved back a week, so he thinks there is enough time between events that to make room for another celebration.

"People do travel from Halifax and all over to come and see the Dogwoods when they are in bloom," he says. "They really add to the community."

Geographic location: Queens, Kempt, Southwest Nova Scotia Halifax

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