Carnival ‘the iron that keeps our blood strong’

Diane Crocker
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Dave Elms, who plays Leif the Lucky during Corner Brook Winter Carniva,l talks about the 10-day celebration at the Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013 Rotary Club of Corner Brook meeting.

CORNER BROOK — When it comes to the question of what Corner Brook Winter Carnival means to the community, Dave Elms is the perfect person to provide the answer.

For the last 21 years, Elms has donned a helmet and big fur vest to take on the persona of Leif the Lucky, the Viking mascot of the 10-day festival.

With the opening of carnival set for tonight, Elms was at the Corner Brook Rotary Club’s weekly luncheon at the Glynmill Inn on Thursday to talk about carnival.

Elms looked up the definition of carnival in the dictionary and found that it is a period of public revelry, an exciting or riotous mixture of something.

And while Corner Brookers aren’t known to riot during carnival, Elms said. “We do have a lot of exciting things, a lot of exciting somethings that we can get involved in.”

The list he quickly rhymed off, without so much as taking a breath, includes games, variety shows, skating, skiing, bowling, craft fairs, dances, bobsledding, lip syncing, family day in the park, beard growing, arm wrestling (which is making a comeback this year), concerts and spelling bees.

“On top of all that, there is food galore,” he said, noting the breakfasts and the lunches and dinners of chili, baked beans, meatballs, soup and jiggs dinner.

“These are the many things that make up carnival,” said Elms. “But what does our winter festival really mean to us as a community?

“If I was to sum it all up, carnival is a bringing together of individuals, whether local or from around the world, to take part in basically a social gathering which is winter carnival.”

Elms also shared stories of how carnival has impacted him and others.

“It’s not just a winter carnival. It’s a way of life. It’s a part of us,” he said. “I think it’s part of the iron that keeps our blood strong.

“When it comes down to it, it helps define us as a community,” he said. “That’s, I think, what carnival really means — it’s all community. It’s not just a time. It is the time of our lives.”

The 42nd Corner Brook Winter Carnival gets underway tonight with a flag raising and torch lighting at city hall at 6:15 p.m. At 6:30 p.m. a torch relay along the Corner Brook Stream Trail will lead people to Margaret Bowater Park for the official opening at 7 p.m.

It’s at the park that Elms, or rather Leif the Lucky, will emerge from his hut to declare the celebration open.

Organizations: Corner Brook Rotary Club, Glynmill Inn

Geographic location: CORNER BROOK, Margaret Bowater Park

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Recent comments

  • Ruby
    February 15, 2013 - 23:37

    Stop bellyaching for God's sake. You have a great Leif the Lucky, a group of Carnival committee workers who work their buns off and still you are not satisfied. And I hope you realize that the monies taken in at those dinners help a lot of organizations do one hell of a lot of good in the area. And Gig, when will you step up to the plate and do some good for the community?

  • Snowbird
    February 15, 2013 - 18:04

    I will be observing the festivities of the 42nd annual Corner Brook Winter Carnival from poolside in Sarasota Florida, thank God.

  • bob
    February 15, 2013 - 14:18

    Well lets try to get it right next yr it would be nice if there were more games and not have the contestants already picked. I find it's all for the townies and not focus with everyone so sad. We need this to be for everyone .Dave you rock the life the lucky . I'm just sick of all the events that are targeted towards the ones with money its not fair for us middle class people .I guess we just watch from the side lines like always time to spice it up and let EVERYONE get involved

  • Allie
    February 15, 2013 - 14:09

    Winter Carnival what a crock ..every year is the same ole same ole flipper dinner baked bean dinner oh and flipper dinner ...I think that they need to change it up a bit ...cant got to the newly wed for a laugh they already got their friends picked please please do something else give it some more excitement ........sad when you look in the carnival book and the only thing there is senior stuff and eat eat ..time to change it up folks

  • Blair
    February 15, 2013 - 12:11

    Lief the Lucky or Gig the Clueless, I wonder who has done the most for their community or anything else for that matter. It's sad and amazing that no matter how happy a story is someone will put a negative spin on it. Keep up the good work Mr. Elms, I doubt that Gig will be looking for your job or that he will be knocking on the door of the Rotary Club looking to be their next speaker

  • Not really
    February 15, 2013 - 11:47

    I, and I think the majority of people in Corner Brook, would rather have the civic holiday in the summer.

  • gig
    February 15, 2013 - 10:42

    gig i think its time to have a new leif the lucky new blood. dave been at it long enought