Helena McCay’s Twinning Speech – Festival Day 2012


Helena McCay with her husband Garry

On behalf of the Board of Directors for the 80th Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival in Nova Scotia, Canada, I bring greetings to the Goosnargh Whittingham Whitsuntide Festival.

Festival Artistic Director Tony Stephenson, formerly of the U.K. and now of the Annapolis Valley discovered the Goosnargh Whittingham Whitsuntide Festival website on the internet and viewed the delightful video of your 2010 Festival. He then dreamed of this concept of twinning our two festivals!

It was an idea that was embraced by all Festival board members. Stephanie Butters and her team became equally enthused about twinning and decided to send representatives from Goosnargh in 2013. We look forward to welcoming  a contingent to the Annapolis Valley of  Nova Scotia, for our 81st Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival.

Our Canadian delegation has enjoyed the most wonderful and unforgettable hospitality and kindness. We thank our gracious hosts the Chadwicks, Birkbys, and Outhwaites who have welcomed us so warmly into their homes and we thank Stephanie Butters, who encouraged them to believe it would be “okay” to host total strangers!

On this very day, June 2, 2012, the 80th Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival is being celebrated. We know that everyone at the Festival has been having a joyful day. Our Festival is a springtime celebration of our traditions, our agricultural heritage and the apple industry in particular. The aim is to promote the best family event for all Valley communities and visitors, making it the leading family festival in Atlantic Canada.

Queen Elizabeth has been honoured in many ways and on many occasions during this year of her Diamond Jubilee. A number of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medals are being given out here and to deserving Canadians, recipients who share the Queen’s ideals and devotion to service.

In her statement to Canada in this Diamond Jubilee Year, Queen Elizabeth expressed the hope that we will all be reminded of the power of togetherness and the strength of family, friendship and good neighbours. The twinning of our festivals honours the hope she has of all of us, on both sides of the ocean.

Twinning is not a new concept; however the twinning of festivals, celebrations of culture and communities is new. We have differences but we are more similar than different. We share a strong message of celebration. We share recognition of the importance of celebrating what is good and positive in a world that sometimes struggles to see value in fun. The Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival is honoured to twin with the Goosnargh Whittingham Whitsuntide Festival.

Twinning our communities is the completion of a circle, as our ancestors from the U.K. settled in Nova Scotia and helped to build the fabric of our Valley and Valley Communities. The completion of the circle gives both sides of the ocean wonderful opportunities to share, learn and grow from this new relationship. The twinning gives us all a connection culturally and economically in a world where connections are increasingly valued.

Thank You and Enjoy the Festivities!