South River site for outdoor sports spectacle

Victoria Day weekend is expected to be busy in South River as the community hosts its first-ever outdoor sports spectacle. Dwayne Wanner, president of South River Brewing Co., approached the board in February about holding a sports show at the South River-Machar Community Center.

The Council jumped on board. Since then, Executive Director Jacquie Lockhart has organized the event. Supply chain shortages caused by COVID are still being felt by some companies, while others are still facing employee shortages. “Some of the businesses in the area that we wanted here can’t come because they don’t have the staff and enough product to sell,” Lockhart said. “But those who said they couldn’t be here also said they would come back in the future if we did it again.” Lockhart says the arena can accommodate around 40 vendors and, despite the COVID setback, 30 exhibitors have so far committed to being part of the show. These vendors will occupy either a 10ft x 15ft area for $200 or a 20ft x 15ft booth for $500. “We have a lot of local and regional businesses that cater to the tourism industry and outdoor sports,” Lockhart said. “When Dwayne suggested it, he thought it would be a way to bring people to South River for a weekend and promote the community.” Most vendors are from the South River area and the Almaguin Highlands, with some from North Bay. “We’ll have dock builders, people with ATVs, boats, camping and hiking gear, artisans with crafts and cottage and home related items,” Lockhart said. Lockhart says the long weekend was intentionally chosen as the time to hold the outdoor sports show, as it is the unofficial start of summer when many people return to the area to open their cabins for the season. . It’s a time when the population nearly doubles in the area, and Lockhart expects many cottagers, permanent residents of Almaguin, and North Bay residents to attend the spectacle. While exhibitors will have their wares inside the arena, a corral-like area is being created outside where the public can sell their used recreational vehicles. “So if you’re looking to sell a boat, canoe, or ATV, bring it in,” Lockhart said. The cost for the owner to exhibit his used vehicle is $25, which covers the two days of the sports show. The Canadian Armed Forces will also have an outdoor information booth for those interested in learning about what the Canadian military has to offer. The South River Lions Club will also be present with a BBQ on both days, with 100% of proceeds going to a community project the Lions plan to sponsor. A beer tent is also set up outside by South River Brewing Co. The Outdoor Sports Show takes place Saturday, May 21 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $5. To kick things off for the long weekend, South River Brewing Co is hosting two free concerts at the brewery. The first is Friday night before the long weekend at 7:30 p.m. with Muskoka guitarist Mighty Lopez, who plays a wide genre of music ranging from blues, bluegrass, folk, country and rockabilly. On Saturday nights, Sean Cotton, also from Muskoka, picks up his guitar at 8 p.m. to perform a variety of musical genres in addition to his own compositions. A guide with all the exhibitors is now at the printers, but Lockhart says that as space remains, more exhibitors are welcome and their company names will be added as inserts to the guide. . Lockhart said the company would also like to host a fall show in the arena, which could give companies that can’t show up this time another opportunity to showcase their wares in a grand setting.

To register, go to www.southriveroutdoorshow.com

Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works at the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

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