Winter Games launches with "rock concert style" ceremonies
© Nicohlas Mercer photo
Athletes and volunteers from Clarenville celebrate the start of the Winter Games at the opening ceremonies held Saturday evening in Clarenville.
They promised an event with a “rock concert” feel and they delivered.
The organizing committee for the 2014 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games pulled out all the stops to deliver an upbeat opening ceremonies tonight at the Clarenville Events Centre.
Hundreds of people cheered from the bleachers as athletes from around the province paraded into the Centre.
The host team, from Clarenville, made a dramatic entrance, waving glo-sticks to create a sparkle as they entered the arena.
With performances by local talent, including Saving her Serenity — the creators of the theme song for the Games and the Clarenville High School Glee Club, the over 700 athletes at the Centre tonight were on their feet dancing and singing along with the bands.
Snook, aka Pete Soucey, had the audience in gales of laughter from the moment he appeared on stage, sporting an impressive wolf fur coat, compliments, he said, of a fellow from Port Blandford.
None of the special guests in the audience were immune from his humour — from Premier Tom Marshall and Liberal Leader Dwight Ball to Trinity North MHA Ross Wiseman and current and former Clarenville Mayors Frazer Russell and Fred Best, all were subject to some gentle jibes from the province’s infamous corner boy.
Jokes aside, tonight’s event was not only to welcome the rest of the province to Clarenville, but also to recognize the people who worked hard to prepare for the opening ceremonies and the Games.
Games chair Greg Pittman noted that it wasn’t just the host committee, but the sub committees and the over 100 people who volunteered to help out with various aspects of the event.
He also thanked the Clarenville Town Council for its support and the local businesses who sponsored the Games.
“Our committee has raised more sponsorship money than any other Games,” he told the crowd tonight.
“The host committee has been magnificent to work with,” he added. “I couldn’t have worked with a better team.”
Premier Marshall congratulated the host committee for “an impressive opening ceremony.”
He also encouraged athletes to do their best.
“Play hard, and play fair. Make friends and make every moment count,” he said.
One of the highlights of the opening ceremonies was the lighting of the Games flame. That honour went to Dustin Russell, captain of the Clarenville Caribous senior hockey team, in a torch-passing ceremony that also recognized special torchbearers Janice Davidson, Jill Russell-Monk, Corwin Mills and Tom Walsh.
In the end, the Master of Ceremonies had the last word.
“You are all winners by being here,” Pete Soucey told the Games volunteers and athletes.
As for the opening ceremonies, he summed it up Snook-style, calling it “a wicked, wicked night.”