First Night will kick off town’s 175th anniversary celebrations

This commu­nity will hold a special New Year’s Eve party  in the down­town Dec 31 with family enter­tainment, and a special early ringing-in for families with young children.
The town with Scottish roots remembers that New Year’s was far more important as a festive celebration than Christmas in the olden days, and organizers will use the event to begin a year-long cele­bration of Fergus’ 175th anni­versary.
Family friendly activities and music are featured from 7 to 9pm, and musical entertain­ment takes place starting at 9pm with a full celebration at midnight, including bell-ring­ing.
Admission is free and all ages are welcome.
Centre Wellington council recently approved some cash to help kick start the festivities.
For more information con­tact Fergus Information Centre at 519-843-5140.
Help wanted
With three major events in the planning stages, the Fergus 175 committee is looking for more community involvement. The committee has been work­ing since the summer getting ready for the town’s birthday.
The Fergus First Night cele­bration on Dec. 31 is just the first of the events. A big home­coming celebration of Fergus 175th will take place from June 28 through July 1, starting with a major summer street festival, A Doors Open tour of heritage buildings, a concert featuring local musicians and bands, and things to do for the whole family are being planned for four days of activities, finishing with the annual July 1 Canada Day celebrations hosted by the township of Centre Wellington.
Plans for a major fall 2008 event to finish the anniversary year have not yet been finaliz­ed, although committee mem­bers are working on ideas.
“The street festival is ex­pec­ted to include visual, culin­ary, and musical art compon­ents throughout the down­town,” said BIA executive director Julia Tyndale-Biscoe.
Artists in Templin Gardens, buskers through the downtown, and local restaurateurs and chefs providing treats to taste will link together with other com­munity events to kick off the long weekend of events.
At the last meeting, the committee accepted an official logo which can be used to pro­mote events – with permission. An image containing Scottish elements was very important to the committee. Designer Jo­anne Rutherford, of Fergus used a font developed in the mid 1800s by Scottish architect and artist Charles Rennie Mac­kintosh.
A Celtic triangle knot is sym­bolic of the Celtic philo­sophy that everything has three distinct yet interlocked levels. When the Celts embraced Christianity, they used the sym­bol to represent the Trinity. Where four of them make a square, it is said to represent the four seasons, the four seasonal lunar holidays, and the four elements of earth, air, fire and water.
The Grand River and nat­ural setting of Fergus is rep­resented by the green and use of the blue waves. Using the historic colours is like the tar­tans of old and use of brown is to represent the stone buildings of Fergus.
The group is also looking for events and activities taking place in other parts of the com­munity, as the first two planned events have a downtown focus. The 2008 Fergus Truck Show and 2008 Scottish Festival have agreed to include historic com­ponents in their festivals as part of the celebration.
Organizers are encouraging groups and organizations plan­ning regular activities during 2008 to put together a historic or anniversary component which they can promote as part of the 175th anniversary cele­bra­tions of Fergus.
“We want as many groups and organizations involved in the 175th birthday celebrations as possible,” said Fergus 175th committee chairman Mary Lloyd.
“We know a lot of orga­nizations are having special events, or celebrating anniver­saries of their own. We’re interested in promoting those activities as part of a year-long birthday celebration.”
The committee is hoping to gather a list of all those acti­vities to include on the anni­versary’s website
For more information, con­tact the Fergus Information Cen­tre at 519-843-5140.