It’s been a while since the century-old walls of the Princetown United Church in Malpeque have witnessed hoop skirts.
© Colin MacLean/Journal Pioneer
There will be a P.E.I. 2014 Fund sponsored event at the Princetown United Church in Malpeque on the weekend of July 18 to 20. Visitors can expect to see plenty of folks dressed in period costumes. People like, from left, Norma Pasatieri, George MacKay, Kathleen Milner and Arleigh Hudson.
That changed on Thursday. A laughing and giggling trio of local church ladies, all frills and shawls, joined by one dapper looking gentlemen in a top hat, gave a preview of a project they’ve been hatching for several months.
On the surface, it’s an old-time fair, set for July 18 to 20, with all the concerts, games and face painting that go with it. But there’s a deeper undercurrent there, one born of pride and hope.
This event is about a rural community’s fight to stay relevant and preserve its heritage in a rapidly evolving world.
“A lot of people have worked very hard to keep this community going,” remarked Arleigh Hudson, one of the hoop-skirted ladies.
“This sort of thing really helps to preserve the community, because we all know small towns are struggling to survive. I know the fight Norma and many people in this community have had to try and save the church … and to keep the museum open, and keep the hall running. Look at how many other communities have the church for sale, the hall for sale or closed and broken down,” she said.
“So I think something like this just really gets that interest, so people will want to keep the community going – and growing.”
They’re calling the event, Historical Malpeque (Makpaak) 1864 to 2014. The event is sponsored by the Princetown United Church in Malpeque and funded by a grant from the P.E.I. 2014 Fund.
They have a full weekend of events planned, and are hoping for a big crowd. All events will take place at either the church or the community hall across the street on the Malpeque Road.
Norma Pasatieri, one of the organizers, said the idea to have some kind of community celebration stemmed from a suggestion by local artist Robert Milner.
He wanted to apply to the 2014 fund to create a mural for the community, she said, and the idea snowballed from there.
“When people got together and started talking about what they’d like to do, the more ideas that came the more excited people got, and it just kept evolving into now we have this festival,” said Pasatieri.
It’s a rare opportunity for Malpeque, added the women.
It will provide a means for neighbours to get together and celebrate; something that’s becoming increasingly rare these days.
And it will show the world and each other that despite their challenges, this is a place full of life, beauty and joy. A place to be proud of and to cherish.
“There’s always stuff happening in this little community,” said Hudson.