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Thousands attend O'Leary, P.E.I.'s, 51st Potato Blossom Festival parade


O'LEARY, P.E.I. —

There was no snow in sight, not even a cloud, as the sun blazed down on the ‘Christmas in July’ themed parade that rolled through O’Leary, Saturday afternoon.

What better way to capture the heart of this community than by spreading cheer, says Valene Gallant, spokesperson for the 51st Potato Blossom Festival.

“It’s a way to celebrate the hardworking farmers and everything they have done for us, and it builds community spirit and shows that spirit. It’s just fun for everyone,” said Gallant.

The festival takes place each year in July to mark the time when the potato plants blossom in the fields.

“I love the Christmas in July theme because it just sums up the personality of this area, the heart that the residents show all year round, so I think it is very suitable,” said Denice MacNeill, who came with her three children to watch the parade unfold while protected from the sun under the cooling branches of a tree.

More than 60 colourful floats crawled along Main Street, tossing candy to kids perched on the sidelines while ringing in the Christmas spirit early this year.

“It’s all about the heart of Christmas, not the gifts, but the goodness,” MacNeill said.

Not only were floats adorned with Christmas lights and decorations, but residents displayed festive cheer in their yards, and the giant spud that marks the spot for the O’Leary Potato Museum was decorated as a snowman.

“There’s a lot of positive feedback coming from the Christmas theme,” said Gallant.

Popular events from previous years returned to the one-week festival that wrapped up on Sunday, including the Miss Potato Blossom Pageant, youth talent contest, Memorial Spud Run, Canadian Potato Peeling Championship, harness racing, P.E.I. Washer Toss championship and car show.

“Plus, we had Kid’s Day at the fire hall, the 7th annual Summerside Chrysler Dodge adult singing competition, and the dance at the Legion, to name but a few. It’s was a jam-packed weekend,” said Gallant.

For more information on the festival, visit www.peipotatoblossomfestival.com.

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