The M&M Meat Shop Canadian Junior Curling tournament is more than just an outside competition using the community's facilities. It's also about given the players a memorable experience in another part of the country.
© Nick Moase Photo
Joe and Marilyn Winters pose at the pep rally for the Canadian Juniors on Jan. 9. Part of the player experience is getting players to don Sou'Wester's among other Nova Scotia experiences.
"We wanted to give them a Nova Scotian and Liverpool area expanded experience," says Donna Hatt, vice-chair of the event. "We want this to be the nationals they'll never forget."
White Point Beach Resort is the host property for the event, and they have converted the entire lower area into a player's lounge. It will be set up with food, games, TV, and access to the pool and fitness areas. Each night there will also be outside bonfires.
Hatt says they wanted to create an atmosphere where other curlers could get together and hang out outside of the games.
As soon as the players step off the plane on Thursday, they will be greeted by greeted by the Nova Scotia Tartan team. The Tartan team is made up of a group of volunteers that is there to give visitors their first experience of Nova Scotia's Culture, and when the players arrive this week they will be manning a booth specifically to greet them.
This also serves as a gathering point for the teams and families for the busses that will bring them to Liverpool.
After they arrive in Queens, all teams will go out onto the ice to get a feel for the surface before the competition begins on Saturday.
During the Icebreaker on Friday night, there will be short speeches by Mayor Christopher Clarke and honourary chair Jill Brothers (formerly Mouzar), followed by inducting the players into the Nova Scotia Order of Good Time. Each player will get a tartan scarf and collectors pin for these games.
Players will get to mix and mingle for a little while, and sign a large Nova Scotia flag which will be hung in Queens Place during the tournament.
Then they will take part in a traditional smudging ceremony put on by Mi'kmaq community members.
"The smudging is meant to say welcome to our land, its time to release all the negatives and greet it with openness and enthusiasm," says Hatt.
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After the opening ceremonies most players will be focused on the games, so no structured events are planned. However the players have access to shuttles for them to explore the community.
The parents also get in on the fun as well, with the parents nights. On three successive nights starting on Jan. 20, the parents from the Western Region, Central Region and Atlantic Region each put on an evening of food and entertainment.
On the following Thursday night as the teams start winding up regular play, the celebrations begin again. The Tango's, a local band out from Liverpool Regional High School, is playing a concert at White Point for the players.
On Friday all players get afternoon off, so they will be out and about taking in the sites around community.
Friday night is the Players Banquet at the West Queens Recreation Centre. The banquet is meant to recognize the players and their achievements throughout the tournament in a whole range of categories.
It is also about giving them a taste of the Nova Scotia as well. Lobster on the half shell, Nova Scotia mussels and other local food will be on the menu that evening.
"Our honourary chair Jill and her husband are going to lead them through (how to eat it)," says Hatt. "Many folks will have never seen lobster, and won't know what to do with this crustacean."
The guest speaker for the evening is Colleen Jones, a Canadian and world gold medalist in Women's Curling.
A Karaoke Dance Party is set for Saturday Night, and a fireworks display is planned to cap it all off Sunday night.
For up-to-the-minute information see our live blog