Paddles and Puppets for Almonte Hospital brings smiles to children’s faces and fierce but friendly competition on the water

Al Roberts, AGH FVM Foundation

Paddles and Puppets for Almonte Hospital took place on Saturday, Aug. 11 with an estimated 250 people taking in the full day of family entertainment at the Almonte Fairgrounds and beach.

Approximately 125 parents and their children attended the three different puppet shows, and by the looks on the children’s faces, a wonderful time was had by all.

“We brought in three very good troupes,” said puppet show coordinator and long-time Puppets Up International Puppet Festival creative director Noreen Young.  “With so much competition for children’s attention now days, it’s wonderful to see that the traditional art of puppetry can still hold children’s attention and bring them so much pure joy.”

Attendees were also able to paddle up the Mississippi River with a community flotilla headed by local paddle enthusiast and former Olympian John Edwards.

Eight teams of four took up the challenge of designing, decorating and racing their rafts across the river and back, as well as collecting pledges as part of their team activity.  The fastest raft was the PRATAC Titanic at 4:50, followed by last year’s champs, Lee Valley Tools Le Raft II, at 5:58, and then the town councillors’ team, the Mississippi Mud Pies, at 6:05. Also participating was the Wolf Grove Rangers, Tea & Cake Shop, 50 Allan, Levi Home Hardware and the AGH FVM Foundation’s Captain Von Razor.  Approximately 100 spectators cheered on the raft racers during the two heats. Close to $4,000 was collected by rafting teams towards the Hospital’s diagnostic imaging campaign.

“We had perfect weather and the people that came out were treated to lots of really great family entertainment,” said event chair Art Solomonian. “We also had an opportunity to promote our diagnostic imaging campaign and how important it is to support quality healthcare close to home.”

L.G. Lee & Sons was the presenting sponsor for the day.  Levi Home Hardware, Bean Chevrolet Buick GMC, Almonte Civitan Club, Valley Heritage Radio and Priority Patient Transfer were also event sponsors.  Close to 50 volunteers took on various roles throughout the day to ensure everything ran smoothly.

Video courtesy of the Millstone