© Guardian photo by Steve Sharratt
Island artist Warren Reeson explains his interactive creation on the front of a Montague building durin an art walk held in the town as part of its summer festival.
MONTAGUE — It will be hard to replicate, but the success of the Summer Days festival this year has townsfolk here in fine trim and buzzing with pride.
“It was unbelievable and the town outdid themselves,” wrote Rita Layden on the festival Facebook page. “Everywhere you went you could hear people talking about how wonderful it was … even the tourists.”
And there was no shortage of spectators. The town has never been so packed with people or vehicles that were parked as far as half a kilometre away from the activities held at the waterfront marina park.
And while there is no official estimate (it was free), many say more 8,000 to 10,000 people filled the town during the two-day event.
“I’ve never seen so many people in this town,’’ said Coun. John MacFarlane at the council meeting here Monday night.
The co-operative weather only added to the experience of sitting outside along the river while enjoying music and activities.
The Summer Days festival included the DiverseCity multicultural festival this year as well, the Raft Race and the Art Walk. The combination filled the streets and restaurants with visitors to the town.
“It was the busiest we’ve ever been,’’ said Sheri Garnhum of Windows on the Water restaurant, which overlooks the waterfront. “I think the free music all day and into the evening helped draw people for an enjoyable experience.”
Mayor Richard Collins said the weekend festival was a tremendous feat and announced at Monday’s town council meeting a huge thank you to all volunteers.
“There are too many to name but they did a great job rolling four events into one and making it a great success,’’ said Collins, who also paid special tribute to town events co-ordinator Andrew Rowe.
Coun. Peggy MacLeod, chair of the festival, was delighted with the results but acknowledged many of the activities were sourced through additional 2014 funding and wouldn’t be available again next year.
“It turned out great and I think a lot of people saw Montague in a different light.”
During the official opening, Collins — standing in a brand new waterfront bandshell — acknowledged the assistance of the provincial government and Innovation Minister and local MLA Allen Roach for infrastructure funding.
The event ended Sunday night the crowning of Andrea Smith as Miss Montague, the best-ever firework display sponsored by the Eastern Graphic, and the blast of horns from a $30-million yacht docked in the marina.