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Niagara Falls
Saturday, June 22, 2024
Despite the rain, Lions carnival celebrates year of firsts for the club’s 60th birthday
Hattie the 3 legged boxer won the Beatrice Memorial Best of Show Award. Dave Van De Laar.
Youngest dog winner Khali, a five-week-old French bulldog, held by Elijah, 7. (Dave Van De Laar) Dave Van De Laar.
Competitors at the first annual St. Davids Lions Carnival dog show. (Dave Van De Laar) Dave Van De Laar.
Six-year-old Jolie and four-year-old Bennett Skubel enjoyed their snow cones after playing games on Saturday at the St. Davids Lions Carnival. Dave Van De Laar.
Two-year-old Ethan Chan-Xie chowed down on a lollipop at the St. Davids Lions Carnival on Saturday. Dave Van De Laar.

The St. Davids Lions Club didn’t let a bit of stormy weather rain on its parade on Saturday.

The Lions celebrated the club’s 60th anniversary with the annual carnival on July 29.

This year’s festivities are following a banner year of success in 2022 – despite the weather not being on their side on July 29.

“We lost probably a good four hours on Saturday,” Susan Snider, the incoming Lions president said.

The club is looking at the bright side though, recognizing that money was still raised for the community nonetheless.

“You have to stay positive. In everyone’s life, a little rain must fall. You just have to make the best of it,” Snider said.

She explained that the total amount of funds raised is still being calculated, and emphasized that “there is still money to give to our community, to Canada and to our world.”

Snider is the St. Davids Lions’ first-ever female president, so the carnival – of which she was in charge of running – looked a bit different for her compared to the past 15 years or so.

In past years, Snider had worked the grocery basket post and food booths.

“This year I had to mitigate and do other things, so it was different and I did kind of miss just being at one post,” she joked.

Snider’s official presidential duties began on July 1, with the new Lions year.

She expressed her excitement to take on the new role and add a bit of a womanly touch to leadership.

“Men are from Mars, women are from Venus: We work well together,” she said.

She said that Lions clubs worldwide began accepting women in 1987 and are at nearly 50 per cent female members.

“Every woman who I know who has joined the lions club has been received with open arms,” she said.

For her first carnival as president, Snider was overall pleased.

“A huge thank you to everyone who supports our carnival year after year,” she said.

She added that going forward, she’s going to ensure that the Lions “have fun in everything we do.”

Hal Barlow and Fred Broughton worked one of the Lions’ booths on Saturday evening and said that despite the rain, things were looking up.

They explained that while the carnival stayed open during the weekend downpour, rides and music had to stop for around four hours.

“After 3 o’clock or 4 o’clock things started picking up,” Barlow said.

“It’s a great night now,” added Broughton.

They both said that the dog show at 1:30 p.m. drew a large crowd despite the rain.

“That was a big success and this was the first year that they did it,” said Broughton.

Snider said that the dog show was a real highlight for an otherwise rainy day.

“It was fantastic,” she said.

“There were over 30 dogs there and we held it under the bingo tent,” she laughed.

The show was originally planned to be outside with a DJ, but organizers decided to compromise with the weather and take a bit of shelter.

She shared her amazement that even with the rain and the chaos, “all the dogs got along.”

Hattie the three-legged Boxer, a fixture of the Lions club made her appearance. 

Snider told The Lake Report that Hattie, a rescue dog, took a fall as a puppy and shattered one of her legs.

The original owners refused treatment for Hattie and the leg was removed by the Hamilton SPCA before she was put up for adoption.

“Either the leg had to be removed or she had to be put down,” Snider said.

Hattie was given the Beatrice Memorial Best in Show Award, named for the lead organizer’s 14-year-old dog who was recently put down.

All funds raised from the first-ever dog show are going to the Guide Dogs of Canada. Entry was $10 a pup.

Other show-stopping attractions included a visit from New York Rangers player Ben Harper on Wednesday night, who had a shootout game to kick the carnival off.

New this year too was the carnival’s ticketed Country Night on Sunday, led by entertainment chair Ken Lamb.

Lamb expressed disappointment in having to cancel multiple acts due to the rain.

“People are so controlled by the weather, you kind of live by it and die by it when you’re doing outdoor events,” he said.

He added that three acts were cancelled for Saturday’s carnival festivities.

“It really dampened the crowd,” he said.

“The volume just hasn’t been where we’d love it to be, but it is what it is.”

Country night entry was a $20 donation, which Lamb was greatly appreciative of especially since technical costs were fronted by the carnival’s numerous sponsors.

“They underwrote any costs that we have, from equipment rental to the costs of the bands, which is really cool,” he said.

Because of the generous community and the “great safety net,”  all funds raised can benefit the residents of St. Davids.

“Every penny goes straight back to the community.”

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