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June 20th 2015

Chi-Cheemaun Festival

Text by Robert Ockenden

The Chi-Cheemaun Festival is an annual three day party held in the middle of June at Tobermory, (the "Tub"). The excuse for the party is to celebrate the beginning of North Channel boating season. Goodly numbers of floating international attendees seem to favour very large power craft, while land lubber attendees are of broader international flavour, a regular U.N. of nationalities, arriving in their Hondas on up to Land Rovers and by the bus loads from places well south of Highway 7.

Dave Allen

MS Chi-Cheemaun


Dave Allen

In recent years our Bruce/Grey group has tried to attend the "old car show" thatĎs attached to the Festival. Last year a 5 vehicle accident on #6 closed the highway just south of the Tub and we turned back to the Lionís Head Inn to drown our sorrows. No serious injuries resulted from the car accident, but as the illegal use of a cell phone was involved, the lawyers are probably still reaping the financial benefit of it.

The weather for this yearís Festival was perfect. Clear blue skies, light winds, moderately warm. Before heading to the Festival we gathered again at The Lionís Head Inn, this time for breakfast. Though they donít normally do breakfast, by prearrangement, they opened just for us. There was no choice, everyone having the same thing, but what a fabulous breakfast was served! A mountain of scrambled eggs, farmerís sausage, bacon, spiced ham, fried mushrooms, tomatoes, home fries and toasted rye bread! And of course bottomless cups of excellent coffee, all for a ridiculously low price! Many thanks to "Terry" the Manager, who was our chef and waiter.

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Lions Head Inn
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Because it was the weekend of the Lionís Head Community Yard Sale, there were dozens of vendors spread out around the village, under attack from hundreds of frenzied shoppers. Following our 2 hour breakfast we were lucky to get out of the village unscathed, losing no wives in the process. Once away we meandered north through beautiful Whippoorwill Bay, introduced the as yet uninitiated to the "interesting" Forty Hills Road, then took the scenic route north along the gently rolling winding tree-lined East Bury Road. At the Dyerís Bay Road we went west, then north on Highway 6, arriving shortly after at the Tub.

Dave Allen

40 Hills Road

Attendance was up again at the whole event, including the old car part. Purely by chance, at the head of our row, was Bob Thompsonís beautiful í31 Rolls from Port Elgin. Not one of our group, heíd arrived just before us. Lilly, our Old English White í60 Morris Minor 1000, parked directly behind Bobís similarly coloured Rolls, for a comparison of extremes. Chris and Sue Woodsí red Spitfire was next, followed by Dave Allenís yellow Nigel, then by Denise and Collinís red Mini. Quite a colourful crew. Mark and Sharon Hetherington, who havenít yet completely succumbed to the LBC bug, brought up the rear with their VW "disappearing-roof convertible", an OIS (?). After a time, Jim Ellis arrived in "Ruby", his í67 RHD Trafalgar Blue M.M.1000, with some flimsy excuse for not breakfasting with us. Because he whined he was not put in the same row as us, but justifiably separated from our group by a mob of motorcycles.

Dave Allen

Bob Thompsonís beautiful í31 Rolls

Dave Allen

Lilly, our Old English White í60 Morris Minor 1000

Dave Allen

Chris and Sue Woodsí red Spitfire

Dave Allen

Dave Allenís yellow Nigel

Dave Allen

Denise and Collinís red Mini

Dave Allen

Jim Ellis' "Ruby", í67 RHD Trafalgar Blue M.M.1000

Not attached to us were some local British cars: a couple of newer Jags; another red Mini; a very nice 20 year old MGTD replica; a pearlescent white bug eye Sprite; and, a beautifully customized bright yellow Morris/Austin/? from Midwestern Ontario.

Dave Allen

As usual, our LBCís earned quite a bit of interest, lots of pictures and questions.

From five years ago, this free old car and motorcycle event has become much larger. The fact that itís held beside the harbour in such beautiful surroundings doesnít hurt. And the other weekend Festival events certainly draw a large international crowd - and crowded it was!

Along with two free lunch tickets, one of the great "prizes" in each goody bag was a free two person walk-on Chi-Cheemaun Ferry pass for a same-day-return-trip to Manitoulin. If we can get it organized, weíll of park our groupís LBCs in the free day-trip ferry parking in early September, then walk aboard for an absolutely beautiful cruise. (Someone said they even have a bar on board.)

Now, Tobermory is a different place. Any other place may have a soapbox derby, the Tub has cardboard boat races. There are a couple of differences between the two. Soapbox racers, for the most part, run the course. Cardboard boats, with all the duct tape and styrofoam sealing and floatation, do not make the course. But that is half, well pretty much all, of the fun. Participants end up in the Zebra Mussled waters flailing for laughter.

Dave Allen

Classic U.S.A.

Dave Allen

vs. Canada

Dave Allen

This one looks like it may actually float

Dave Allen

This one, not so much

Explore the Bruce

Close to the finish line


































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