Amongst the attractions of opening night were the midway, music by The Marquis, the Puppet Tamer, beer garden and tractor pull and selection of the 2014/15 Ambassador. The choice from this year’s five young women candidates was made based on previously completed interviews and a speech and impromptu question which are part of the opening ceremonies. Congratulations to Nikki McIntyre who was named the 2014/15 Ambassador and to runner-up Marcia Pelcz.
An impressive list of school and extracurricular accomplishments was outlined in each Ambassador candidate’s introduction and in their speeches all of them demonstrated poise and an appreciative enthusiasm for the good things to be found in West Elgin. For her speech, Charlotte Croser took a more unusual approach. Though not the winning entry, it did offer a bit of the unexpected. (And there is plenty of that to be found in discovering the people and places in our neighbouring rural areas. Seeing things in new ways must surely have been a factor in sustaining an 160-year old tradition and it’s likely to be the secret to taking it to 175 years and beyond).
Good evening, fellow West Elgin-ites, there sure are a lot of you, and I sure am following a guy [the Puppet Tamer] who juggled a blade and a bowling ball, as well as mention of a giant duck. I can only promise you my best.
If someone told me they were thinking of moving to West Elgin, I'd have two things to say: don't eat the yellow snow, and don't walk too far off the yard without shoes if you want to live to see tomorrow. However if someone told me they were thinking of moving to West Elgin, as opposed to the rest of the world or (dare I say the name) East Elgin, then it becomes a competition. No disrespect to Aylmer, but I've set the bar high for myself. In grade nine, I sold a single serving package of Sanka to a grade twelve student, for five dollars. It was decaf. I was not put on this earth to let West Elgin down.
West Elgin has a lot of great local produce to offer. I think we all know that there is nothing more satisfying than walking outside to your very own salad plant and making your very own leaf dinner. Some of us don't even wash it, we just eat it right out of the ground. The bugs are extra protein, they keep us next-level. With that comes grassy fields, mingling with peaceful cows. It's hard not to be envious of the simplicity. Of course, there's the beach with several trailer parks. The kind of place your grandkids want to visit, as if you didn't spoil 'em enough. Here, we have a community where you can be comfortable. There is safety in lack of numbers. We are always watching, and we always know exactly what you're up to.
But what use is any of that without a sense of home? We have one of everything, one grocery store, one bank, and only one of each of us. You have a place when you live here, not one that you fill, but one that you tailor to fit you. We're not hectic with competition, and people fighting to be “it”. In West Elgin, you can be who you feel you are, and be recognised for that.
Most importantly, we want you here. We need you to support our small schools, which act as a community hub. If we all sent our kids elsewhere, the school would close, and we wouldn't have anywhere to get vaccines. We would all die, and there aren't that many of us anyway. Likewise, we need you to support our small businesses. Authentic, specialised retailers are paramount to how capitalism is supposed to work. That means you should go buy a cookie from my sponsor [Tasty Sweets], right over there. Chains may be cheap, but they're overrated.