New Berwick Gala Days' queen appreciates festival's return to tradition

John Decoste
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Gala Days has returned to its Labour Day weekend timing and the new queen thinks it’s a wise choice.

Berwick Gala Days 2014 Queen Rebecca Morton said she likes the tradition surrounding the annual Berwick festival and is pleased the decision was made this year to return it to its traditional place on calendar.

“I like that it’s on Labour Day weekend, and I’m glad they moved it back this year.,” Morton said. “I’m hearing lots of great things about it.”

The 17-year-old daughter of Anna Ashford Morton and Wade Morton was chosen Queen Aug. 30 at the 69th edition of the festival’s princess tea.  

“It feels great, really exciting. I’ve wanted to be a princess, and hopefully even queen, since I was a little girl. This is like a childhood dream come true,” Morton said after her crowning.

Several past queens, including the first Gala Days Queen from 50 years ago, were in attendance at the tea.

“I’m part of the line now, along with all the other queens,” Morton said.

Courtney Baker was chosen First Lady in Waiting, and Courtney VanHattem Second Lady in Waiting, in addition to being voted Miss Friendship by her fellow princesses. Rebecca Wisted was named Miss Spirit, and Cassidy Lohnes won the Speech Award.

Florence Lutz of Kentville, Elaine Jones of Middleton and Bruce Inglis of Liverpool were the pageant judges.

Morton, who grew up in Berwick, said Gala Days means tradition to her.

“It’s both a community tradition and a tradition in my family – an annual ‘end of summer’ celebration for Berwick and the surrounding area,” she said.

“It’s a time for family, and going out and enjoying all that’s great about this community.”

Return to Labour Day weekend

In his remarks at the tea, and also speaking earlier in the day, Berwick Mayor Don Clarke said he thought Gala Days was “going very well.

 “It’s been a struggle the past few years, once we realized we couldn’t get a midway on Labour Day weekend,” he said.

The decision was made in 2012 to move Gala Days ahead two weeks, to mid-August, before returning to its traditional time slot this year.

“In hindsight,” Clarke said, “maybe that wasn’t the best decision.

“I don’t know whether it was the weekend, or the location,” he said of the experience of the past two years. “I know we have a really dedicated group of volunteers on the organizing committee. They work very hard, and volunteers are hard to find.”

Clarke said returning to tradition might be the key to securing Gala Days’ future.  “Starting small again, and building it back up,” he said, making reference to a number of new events this year that seemed to be going over well.

Gala Days continue through Sept. 1. Find the schedule here.


Geographic location: Berwick, Kentville, Liverpool

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