Sometimes an interview is just an interview.
Sometimes the unexpected happens and it becomes an event.
That happened to me on Wednesday. I was on my way to the Charlottetown waterfront to meet with organizers of the Glenaladale Heritage Trust’s Rum Running Festival. The event runs Sept. 27-28 on and near the historical property on Tracadie Bay.
The board members had agreed to meet me at Peake’s Wharf for a photograph. And yes, they would be wearing fashions from the 1920s.
When I got there, to my surprise, the party had already started.
Walking toward Peake’s Wharf I could see them – a trio of flappers, a woman carrying a temperance sign and a shady-looking character carrying a cask of rum. I also saw hundreds of people encircling them. Some were eating Cow’s Ice Cream. Others were carrying little shopping bags. It was like a big P.E.I. tourism moment.
That’s because on Wednesday afternoon two cruise ships had dropped anchor in the Charlottetown Harbour and passengers from the Zaandam and the Caribbean Princess had been set loose on Peakes Wharf. And while they were shopping they had discovered my friends.
In fact, some passengers thought the flappers were part of the entertainment the port of Charlottetown had arranged for them.
“People were coming up and taking pictures. They were high fiving us. They were taking selfies with us. We felt pretty good,” says Mary Bradley, who was wearing a black 1920s style dress with red gloves and a red sequinned headband.
The flash mob-like experience was short-lived, but it served as a dress rehearsal for the Rum Running Festival, a signature fundraiser for the trust in support of its ongoing work at Glenaladale.
If you are going:
What: Glenaladale Heritage Trust’s Rum Running Festival.
When and where: Sept. 27-28 on and near the historical property.
Tickets: Send an email to email@example.com or call 902-676-2123. Also visit Glenaladale House on Facebook for regular updates.
I was excited to learn more, so, after taking their photo on the wharf, we all headed into Peakes Quay for a soft drink and a chat.
Turns out their cultural weekend kicks off on Friday with a Glenaladale ceilidh at St. Michael’s Hall, Corran Ban, #1231 Route 6, near Dalvay. Hosted by Michael Pendergast it will feature a variety of musicians, including spoon-playing champion Brendan Peters. Tickets are $15 and will be available at the door on a first-come basis.
On Saturday, the fun continues at the Glenaladale House, 237 Blooming Point Rd., Tracadie Cross. Activities include tours of the estate at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., a guided boat tour of Tracadie Bay and a Rum Running Story Circle led by Island historian Dutch Thompson at 1 p.m. A pop-up museum and a car show are also planned.
“We’re inviting everyone to bring their artifacts and stories,” Bradley adds.
Then, on Saturday night, it’s the Glenaladale Speak Easy at Tracadie Rec Centre featuring Island musicians Jon Rehder, Chris Corrigan and Reg Ballagh. The Clever Barkeep from Halifax will prepare rum-based cocktails and give rum talks throughout the evening. Food stations on the Speak Easy theme will be provided by Green Isle Catering.
Immediately, I’m curious about what makes Glenaladale a perfect location for a rum-running festival.
Cathy Corrigan, a board member, tells me there’s historical connection. Over the years, the estate was home to the MacDonalds and the MacKinnons.
“The MacKinnons were successful entrepreneurs. And one of their investments was rum-running. So, it was part of the culture.”
Call in and win
The question: What is the name of one of the cruise ships that came to Charlottetown on Wednesday?
The prize: A pair of tickets to Glenaladale Heritage Trust’s Rum Running Festival.
Last week’s winner: Gail Feehan won a pair of tickets to see comedian Dennis Trainor.
To enter: Call The Guardian’s Phone and Win contest line at 902-629-1707.
Sally Cole is an entertainment writer with The Guardian. She welcomes comments about her column as well as suggestions for future columns from readers. She may be reached at sally.cole@TheGuardian.pe.ca or by phone at 902-629-6000, ext. 6054.