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Everything’s new again at Stompin’ Tom Centre

Lots of finishing touches happening at Skinners Pond's new Stompin' Tom Centre.
Lots of finishing touches happening at Skinners Pond's new Stompin' Tom Centre.

SKINNERS POND -- From the blades of grass peaking through the freshly landscaped P.E.I. red soil, to the white picket fence and the freshly painted old schoolhouse there’s a distinctive welcoming feel to the Stompin’ Tom Centre, set to open in Skinners Pond on Canada Day.

The schoolhouse and homestead on the property are original structures where Stompin’ Tom spent his boyhood, but the beating heart of the complex is the Stompin’ Tom Centre, and it’s brand new. It has interpretive displays, entertainment and dining venues, gift shop and even a small recording studio.

Several members of Stompin’ Tom Connors’ family are flying in for the opening weekend celebrations.

There’s a special place at the bar in the Stompin’ Tom Centre in Skinneers Pond reserved for the late Canadian country singing legend. Anne Arsenault admires a portrait of Stompin’ Tom which was painted by local artist Carol Wedge.

The official opening is set for Canada Day with a free program from 2 to 4 p.m., but the festivities get started Friday evening with a songwriters circle and entertainment.

The first of a daily flag-raising ceremony takes place during the Canada Day grand opening.

Following Saturday’s grand opening and commemoration ceremony, the first annual Stompin’ Tom Fest gets underway on the STC grounds. It continues on Sunday from 2 to 7 p.m.. It features Billy MacInnis, Small Town Jokurs (Joey Doucette and Kurk Bernard), Tim Hus, Dave Gunning, JP Cormier, Mike Plume, Washboard Hank, Ivan Daigle, Gordie MacKeeman and his Rhythm Boys, Matt Minglewood and others.

The debut of the STC’s dinner theatre production of My Island Home: A Stompin’ Tom Story, is set for Sunday evening, and many members of the country music icon’s family are expected to be in attendance.

Anne Arsenault, general manager of Tignish Initiatives Ltd., owner of the complex, said tickets to all of the opening weekend events are selling well. They can be reserved at Stompintomfest.com or by calling 882-3214.

The centre has a full line-up of weekly events all summer, Kitchen party on Mondays, dinner theatre on Tuesday and Thursday, live entertainment every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and a Sunday program alternating between ceilidhs and Acadian Frolics.

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