Welcome to the latest episode of the Great NOTL Summer Walkabout, a summer-long series of stories that will take you to all corners of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Our reporters will trek around the community to meet residents and visitors, attend events, visit area landmarks and tell stories about what they find. Enjoy the Walkabout.
Some people came for the rides, some for the food, some for the entertainment. The 56th Annual Lions Carnival really had something for everyone.
The bingo tent was filled throughout all four days of the carnival, which began Wednesday.
Alexis Arnott, Janet Harrison and Carol Simpson from Niagara Falls loved the bingo and said the St. Davids carnival is the only one they come to. The never miss it.
“I think it’s the only carnival that has bingo,” Simpson said. The women praised the “delicious” food, especially the Lions burger, saying they “can’t put it into words” to describe it.
Not far from the bingo was a nickel sale tent. Mary Albers, who was coming out of the tent, said she hoped to win wine.
“It’s just a nice community event. Money obviously goes to their charitable work and they work hard,” Albers said.
Having attended the carnival for 40 years, she recalled once winning a hand-knitted afghan blanket. Last year, she said she won a whole camping kit with a tent, a stove and a coffeemaker. “It’s a treat to have a Lions burger,” she added.
Ryan Smelle, who travelled from St. Catharines with his six-year-old son Jack Ryan, said he was at the carnival for the first time and liked the “great old-style feel” and family-friendly activities.
Sophia Bradley, 9, was at the carnival with her grandfather Jim Adams who said they’ve been coming to the event every year.
“I like the bingo tent,” Adams said.
Children enjoyed such midway rides as Tilt-a-whirl and Wave Rider, while adults participated in a variety of draws and games such as bingo or crown and anchor.
The club also offered its famous Lions burger, corn on the cob, back bacon on bun, fries and onion rings. St. Davids-Queenston United Church was selling a variety of pies and there was live entertainment each night.
On Thursday, the crowd was entertained by a group of dancers from Happy Feet Dance studio in Niagara Falls. For Madelyn Lapensee, 12, it was the first time performing at the carnival. She said she was nervous and excited but it’s “always fun to do something new.”
Watching their daughters – Kaylee, Kaiya, Karah and Kassidee – perform were Marcel and Samantha Denomme from Niagara Falls. The couple said they felt proud watching them dance.
Diane Pewer, a member of St. Davids and District Lioness Club, said she was glad lots of people were coming out to the event as the carnival supports many organizations.
“(The carnival) is on green space, which is very important. Lots of kid’s games, rides, it’s a truly family event,” she told The Lake Report. “All of this goes back into the community which is very important … The fundraising is such an important thing as the government doesn’t fund a lot of things.”
On the opposite side of the field, dozens of people were listening to an opening act by Kyla Paul. Tammy Turcotte, from Hamilton, was one of them.
“She’s really good, she’s talented,” Turcotte said watching Paul play the guitar.
She said she has been taking in the carnival for over 40 years, ever since she was a little girl. Seeing all the people having fun is the best part of the carnival, she said.
Turcotte who volunteered at the carnival as a teenager, has brought her own children and grandchildren to the event over the years.
“It’s my happy place,” Turcotte said.
Pony rides were added to the entertainment on Saturday. Sawyer Douglas, an eight-year-old boy from St. Catharines, told The Lake Report he enjoyed the ride.
Standing next to a face painting booth, were Silia and Joshua Stapleton with their sons, Aiden and Atreyu. Silia said they support the Lions Club and they like to see Niagara Face Painting at every festival they go to.
A number of people took home some valuable prizes from the carnival.
The second prize, a Niagara Falls vacation package, was won by Kim Killeen from Virgil, who donated the prize back to the club for more fundraising.
John Adams won an e-scooter, Elizabeth Fedorkow won the outdoor living draw while David Rowe walked away with a $200 collectible doll.
The grand prize winners of a 19-foot Starcraft camper trailer and two bicycles were Alistair Smith, his wife Stephanie and 18-month-old son Callum, of Stevensville.
“Last year, the people that won the camper trailer had no intentions of camping, sold the trailer back to Niagara Trailers,” said Bill Brouwer, the club’s communications chair.
“This year is a storybook ending for this couple, who had been looking to buy a camper, but could not afford one so they stayed their decision. The look on the wife’s face, when we told her two bicycles also come with the camper, was exciting to watch.”