I was interviewed by Rob Newton for his video “Almonte’s Interwoven Past” and was mortified to hear myself on camera make a serious mistake – a slip of the tongue, but a mistake for posterity, nevertheless.
I was describing the time Don Messer came to play at the main hall in the Almonte Fairgrounds and Howard Giles, secretary for decades told the fairboard — “We can’t have a famous person like Don Messer play in our hall on that old dance floor!” so they installed the present hardwood floor. The story was that enough people payed $1 that night to cover the whole cost. In the interview I said 22,000 people came and it should have been 2,200 so I’m admitting my mistake.
I remember being an excited child, gazing down from the balcony the night Don Messer came but nobody seemed to know what year it was.
This week was a quiet day at Archives Lanark in the snowstorm so I spent sometime looking through the old Almonte Gazettes there. I started from 1952 going backwards and found the short story on the front page of the June 23,1949 issue. I thought other older readers might enjoy the trip back in time .
I transcribed it since the copy was light.
THE ALMONTE GAZETTE
NLAS HOLDS OPENING DANCE ON NEW FLOOR
Although Saturday night’s weather could scarcely be called ideal for dancing,over 2000 paid admission at the dance held by the NLAS. Don Messer and his Islanders furnished the music and the affair was a great success. Chas. Finner, who has no peer as a caller-off in this part of the country,officiated in that capacity. Solos were contributed by Charlie Chamberlain and Marg Osborne, both of whom are familiar to radio audiences.
The dancers were so numerous that they overflowed the floor in the main hall and an outside platform was erected. The fair board plans to continue its dances and will hold one once a month. The next one will be announced shortly for July 22. This is the first time the new hardwood floor laid recently in the exhibition hall had been used for a dance. It is a large space and accommodates a big crowd.