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This week the “Holiday Hop” is happening downtown, with many shops downtown participating in sales and a contest to get the festive season underway.

Last Saturday the annual Parade of Lights kicked off the Holiday Hop, making its way through downtown and up to the Dalhousie University campus.  The weather was probably more what I’d expect in Bermuda than Nova Scotia, at 17 degrees and pouring rain.

I had volunteered to walk in the parade on behalf of the Downtown Halifax Business Commission, parade sponsor and resource organization for all businesses located downtown. We were positioned at the front of the parade along with the other sponsors (Halifax Chronicle Herald and Eastlink).

At 5:00 the proverbial crickets were chirping on Barrington Street as we made our way to the marshalling area down by the Navy dockyards (just past the brand-spanking new & stinky sewage treatment plant). While we waited, I walked the length of the parade as floats and marching groups were getting themselves organized. I was impressed by the number and quality of the floats… it seemed like it took me ages to walk all the way back to the front of the line, jingling as I went!

We finally got underway just after 6 p.m. I was sharing banner-carrying duties with two other clown volunteers. I really got a kick out of seeing the faces of tiny little toddlers agape with excitement as we came into sight. Tiny! Little Cindy-Lou Whos were everywhere.  We were the first costumes in the parade, and I suspect that the loud jingling noises we made with our hand-held bells really set the Christmas excitement neurons zinging in all those little brains. It was very cute to see how many tiny little faces lit up when a clown with green swirls on her face (that’s me) made eye contact and waved at them.

Due to the rain and poor visibility, it was hard to get decent photos of me or the rest of the parade. So you’ll just have to take my word for it, that’s me on the far side of this banner.  Next year I have to figure out how to get my hands on one of those shriner mini-bikes.

The Holiday Hop promotions continue downtown right through Saturday December 22nd. Check The Loop’s website to see what’s on sale … something different each day. And of course you knew that parking is FREE downtown on weekends right?

st-anns-cb

October 24th, Morgan and I pulled up stakes, folded up our wheels, and headed for the Gaelic College in St. Ann’s, Cape Breton, for the 7th annual Maritime Spinners’ Retreat. The scenery was beautiful, the weather was perfect and the bobbins were spinning fast and furiously.

hall-of-the-clans

With 100 spinners from throughout Atlantic Canada in attendance, as well as a number from other provinces and the Eastern US , it was a great opportunity to connect and commiserate with other fibre enthusiasts. Every skill level was represented, from absolute beginner to expert, and a mentor system and a series of mini-workshops provided everyone with a chance to pick up new skills ranging from drop spindling to Navajo plying. In fact, the retreat provides those with little or no spinning experience with a rare chance to see and try many styles of wheel and to get many different perspectives on the craft.

A daily vendors’ market presented a dizzying array of fibre and tools, and there were yoga sessions, mini-massages, Celtic harp lessons, a milling frolic, a Ceilidh and scenic walks. There was hardly any time to spin!

Next year’s retreat will take place in New Brunswick and–as always–all spinners and would-be spinners are welcome. Stay tuned for details!

Cathy is merriment
Mimi is starlings
Morgan is pomoboho
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