A delegation of international town criers and their travelling companions converged on the Kentville Farmers Market on Sept. 13, one of many stops on a tour of the Annapolis Valley.
KENTVILLE, NS - Oyez, Oyez! The delegation has arrived for the Annapolis Valley International Town Criers Competition.
A bus loaded with 19 town criers from across the country and around the world arrived at the Kentville Farmers Market with their travelling companions on Sept. 13. This was one of several stops the delegation is making in communities across the Valley.
They’ll also be taking part in three competitions, in Windsor on Sept. 14, Annapolis Royal on Sept. 16 and the Grand Pre National Historic Site on Sept. 17. Admission to the competitions is free. There will be an awards dinner for the criers in Berwick on Sept. 17.
Judy Campbell, town crier for Echuca and Moama, Australia, said taking part in the competition is important to her because she wants to see the world and help promote her “shires” all over the globe as the ideal tourist destination.
However, Campbell said that seeing all of her friends in the town crying fraternity and being able to do vocal battle with them makes the Annapolis Valley the “ultimate destination.”
Campbell said she’s heard a lot about Nova Scotia and it’s always been a place she’s wanted to see. Being able to tour the entire Valley is an “enormous plus” because usually when they go to a competition they get to see only one area.
“This is stunning,” Campbell said. “I am blown away by how beautiful it is.”
She said it’s currently winter in Australia so she’s enjoying Nova Scotia’s warm, late summer weather.
Terry Ford, town crier for Otley, West Yorkshire, England, said they’ve heard a lot about the Valley and how wonderful it is with its scenery, food and wine.
“Being town criers, we are naturally inquisitive about all of those things, so it’s a great pleasure to be here and an adventure too,” Ford said.
He arrived in Nova Scotia on Sept. 6 and spent some time in the Halifax area, which he said he thoroughly enjoyed, and he’s having “a whale of a time” in the Valley. Ford said that in order to compile their proclamations, they’ve had to study aspects of the Valley and the more he’s read the more interested he’s become.
“I’m just looking forward to seeing as much of it as I possibly can and the scenery looks tremendously impressive,” Ford said. “I wanted to see it for real instead of in a photograph.”
Daniel Richer, town crier for the national capital region of Ottawa-Gatineau, said he wanted to come to the competition because co-ordinator Gary Long is a part of their brotherhood. It’s important to support each other. He said Long is a great crier.
Richer said Nova Scotia is important to town criers in general as the late Peter Cox, former Halifax town crier, is considered a legend and was Richer’s mentor.
Richer, who is Abenaki, is the only native and Francophone town crier in the delegation. He’s the only provincial town crier for Ontario.
“I’ve introduced every Prime Minister from Mr. Trudeau to Mr. Trudeau,” Richer said. “I was even fast enough to introduce Mr. Joe Clark when he was Prime Minister.”
Richer has also had the honour of introducing Mikhail Gorbachev, former President of the Soviet Union, Queen Elizabeth II and Gene Simmons from the legendary rock band Kiss.
“We open festivals, special events, we do official proclamations on behalf of the city but we also do wedding proposals, passion proclamations, love declarations, and at 110 decibels, when we propose, they listen,” Richer said.
He’s looking forward to enjoying some lobster while he’s here. The delegation will be visiting the Hall’s Harbour Lobster Pound for supper on Sept. 15.
For more information, visit the Association of Annapolis Valley Town Criers Facebook page.