CORNER BROOK — Lenny Benoit better get some rest in over the next few weeks because come Feb. 15 he’s going to be one busy man.
This year the local radio personality won’t just be hosting and judging Corner Brook Winter Carnival events, he’s also going to be front and centre at a lot them as patron.
“I wasn’t expecting anything like this,” said Benoit of the call he got from carnival committee co-chair Dawn King informing him he was the committee’s choice for patron of the 42nd annual event and asking if he would be willing to take on the responsibility.
Of course Benoit was more than willing.
“It’s an honour,” he said.
Benoit, who is originally from Port au Port, has been involved with carnival in some way for the 25 years he’s lived in the city.
“Mainly through work to start,” he said of his introduction to carnival.
He said carnival is such a big part of the community and he enjoys being a part of that as much as he can.
“To the community it means community. It’s just what community is,” he said.
“Coming together, and freezing cold, and snow up past your knees, and getting out there, and having a good time and enjoying it.
“I mean we get the winter every year and it’s always best to make the best of the situation.”
For Benoit that has meant judging or hosting up to 10 to 12 events a year throughout the 10-day event.
And that won’t change for this year’s event with the winning slogan of It’s a Winter’s Dream at Winter Carnival 2013, submitted by Michelle Hynes’ Grade 6 class at St. Gerard’s Elementary.
Along with his patron duties, Benoit said he’ll still do everything he’s done in prior years, all without missing any time at work.
He’ll still be getting up at 3:30 a.m. to head into work and spend the morning on air, followed by attending and participating in events and then hopefully, he said, he’ll get to see the bed sometime before midnight.
“It’s just going to mean longer days and more fun at night. It’s going to be a very busy 10 days.”
But he’s up for the challenge.
“I’m really looking forward to it because there’s a lot of events I don’t get to see ... it’s really going to be interesting to see the other events taking place because I never get that opportunity.”
He’s also looking forward to introducing his daughter Sara to more carnival events this year. Sara will be 17 months old by the time carnival starts and Benoit said she’ll be at the family day in the park and a few of the breakfasts.
As for the events he does take part in, Benoit said his favourite event to judge is the carnival idol contest.
“Just to hear some of the great talent Corner Brook Regional High has. The singers that are there and the entertainers.”
As far as events go, he really enjoys the Not So Newly Wed Game. Benoit has been playing the game show host for this popular event for about 10 years.
But when it comes to competition, there’s one event that brings out a fierce side to Benoit — the annual chili cookoff in aid of the Western Regional Hospital Foundation.
Benoit finished fourth behind The Western Star’s Gary Kean last year and this year has his sights set on besting him.
“I’m coming after him this year,” he said and laughed when asked if he planned to use the patron title to his advantage.
“I’m going to play whatever card I can to win that contest.”