It got its start after the Heritage Footbridge was restored in the early 1990s.
“The old footbridge collapsed after a heavy rain,” said Joanne MacHardy, who has been one of the organizers of the Hopewell Ceilidh since it began.
She said a group of citizens, headed by the area’s county councillor, Rose MacKenzie, lobbied to have the government rebuild it, and a plaque unveiling was scheduled for the church.
She said the bridge wasn’t quite ready when the plaque was dedicated, but the church “was packed” so the next year they organized a ceilidh as a community celebration. “It’s just been going on ever since.”
Always held on the second Sunday in August, the 26th annual Hopewell Ceilidh will take place this weekend.
Last year the event was rained out for the first time in 25 years, with the parade and entertainment cancelled, but the dinners were still sold. MacHardy said the 200 dinners were sold in less than an hour. “It was unbelievable.”
New to the ceilidh this year is entertainment by the first set of Pictou County Pop Classics. MacHardy’s co-organizer John Currie plays with the group.
The Sobeys Big Red Chair will also be on site. The oversized Adirondack chair is part of a campaign by the grocery chain to celebrate its 110 years and Canada’s 150th birthday.
The Hopewell Ceilidh parade, organized by the Pictou County ATV Club, will start at 12:45 p.m. at Station Road and proceed to the Hopewell Ceilidh Field.
Children’s games, face painting and a bouncy house will be available, and turkey/salad dinners, homemade pies, hamburgers and hotdogs will be sold.
MacHardy said the entertainment is free, and people attending can “sit back, relax, eat and listen to music.”