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2009 Summer Picnic Rally leads to R7 Folklorama Rally

Starting our caravan to Winnipeg at the Prairie Haven Campground, Eckelson were Jack and Arlene Bailey, Vern and Bev Zink, Bruce and Carolyn Coonrod, and  Ron and Rose Larson.  We all were greeted with a tote bag with an Airstream painted on it by the campground owners, Colleen and Robert Collier.  After good fellowship in Zink’s motorhome due to rain, we all headed for our trailers to get ready for traveling.

Saturday morning after a hearty breakfast of biscuits gravy, eggs, bacon and sausage served by the Colliers, we headed to our next destination, Wahalla. We had a stop over in Petersburg {where the Larsons once called home} to stretch our legs and walk our four legged friends.

In Wahalla, we were met by 3rd International Vice President Don Clark and his wife Jan, Don and Lillian Thomson from Cavalier, Judy Koester from Cando, and Region 7 President Don and Terrol Rogers who drove down for the day from Winnipeg.

On Sunday afternoon, we went to Mountain and the Icelandic Festival which was wrapping up. From there, our bus driver Don Thomson gave us a tour of the local countryside   That evening, we were joined by Larry and Cathy Ruebel of Bismarck.

Misfortune befell the Ruebels on the way to Walhalla, when they crossed paths with a kamikaze seagull. It almost was a miss, but the hapless bird took off downwind and couldn’t get enough altitude to clear the expensive panels on the trailer. Bruce Coonrod made a valiant attempt to fix the booboo with a strategically placed Band-Aid, but it did wonders for Larry’s perspective. Could happen anytime to anyone.
Monday we enjoyed our picnic, a lazy afternoon chatting, and psyching ourselves up for the busy week ahead. Later in the afternoon, we were joined by Cathy’s dad, Peter Breu and his soon-to-be-bride, Irene, from Marshfield, Wisconsin.  Supper was on your own, and Lillian Thomson served a fresh-from-her-garden raspberry dessert .

Tuesday we were off to Winnipeg with our caravan leader Don and Lillian Thomson. With everyone through the Canadian Port of Entry at Walhalla, we stopped in Morris, Manitoba for hearty breakfast and pace ourselves for a noon arrival at the Travelers RV Resort on Winnipeg’s southeast perimeter.

Following the Welcome Barbeque, Region 7 President Don Rogers opened the rally with a posting of the unit flags by their representatives. We were welcomed to Winnipeg by Ms. Molly Bumpers, an alleged cousin to a niece of some relative’s of the mayor (portrayed by Terrol Rogers). She gave us insight to the attraction the community has to offer and boggling directions to navigate downtown’s “Confusion Corner”.
In the evening, some people headed out to Club Regent Casino to try their hand, while many others caravanned out to Cooks Creek, to tour a historic Ukrainian church and grotto. It was a beautiful place to see, and some members returned there to take in Sunday service.

Pancakes and sausages were served for breakfast Wednesday morning by the Wisconsin Unit. Following breakfast, the Rogers led a caravan out to the Mennonite Heritage Village, while Ron Skelton, president of the Manitoba Unit and a naval veteran, lead a tour to the Naval Museum of Manitoba. Those at the Mennonite village also enjoyed a traditional lunch, including fresh bread prepared with flour milled at the village.

In the afternoon, there was a tour of the Royal Canadian Mint, which is a high-tech, high-volume manufacturing facility. Every single Canadian circulation coin is produced there – literally billions each year.

Following Happy Hour, the motorcoach arrived to take the group to Folklorama, except it wasn’t quite big enough, and Don Thomson was asked to shuttle around a dozen in his van. The Russian pavilion was the first stop for appetizers and the show, the Greek pavilion for our main entre and their show, and later to close the evening with Israel for dessert, coffee and the show .

The Minnesota Unit served oatmeal and ice cream for breakfast Thursday. Some people headed east to Fantasy Lake Golf Course, and prizes were awarded at Happy Hour for high low scores, most improved score, and a consolation prize for the water hazard.
Ladies Day Out started with a tour of the Winnepeg Humane Society with our guide, Terrol Rogers.  It is a million-dollar state-of-the-art building to house and care for unwanted animals, and was built entirely with donations. From there, the ladies visited the Assiniboine Park Conservatory, where they had lunch and a brief look at the gardens. Next, they were off to downtown and Nygards Fashion World to shop.  They gave everyone a copy of The Fashionista’s Guide To Survival as a complimentary gift before they left.
In the afternoon people set off for a tour of St. Boniface Museum, the oldest remaining structure in the city of Winnipeg. The former grey nuns’ convent houses the museum, which was built between 1845 and 1851, served as the first hospital in Western Canada. The group also got to sample some tasty little sweet rolls, dubbed “nun farts”.

Thursday evening’s outing to Folklorama brought the group to Columbia and Belgium, and to the Celtic Ireland pavilions. Everyone was impressed with the choreography of the step dance by the students of the Brady Academy of Irish Dance; founder Philip Brady credits include numerous competitions and an extensive international tour with Lord of the Dance.

North and South Dakota served a cereal and toast breakfast Friday morning as the weather was threatening a drippy day-perfect weather for taking a drive along the River Road Heritage Parkway. Caravanning north out of Winnipeg, we stopped at St Andrew’s Church and Rectory, the oldest stone church in western Canada used continuously for worship, and whose kneelers are covered in buffalo hide for comfort. We passed the St. Andrew Lock and Dam, built in 1910 to bypass rapids on the Red River and allow navigation to and from Lake Winnipeg. We stopped at Lower Fort Gary National Historic Park, where the skies opened up just a little more. But the rain could not dampen the opportunity to see these restored buildings from Canada’s early history. All the building were attended by costumed interpreters who were knew their history, including the blacksmith who was keeping the chill out of his shop. Smoke filled the kitchen in the basement of the Governor’s Big House, as the cook started the wood oven.

From there, we continued north into Selkirk for a quick lunch, and then on to Marine Museum of Manitoba. There a number of ships sat together on dry land, connected by gangplanks so that visitors could go from ship to ship to take in the restorations in progress and the shipping artifacts. Despite the weather, it was a most enjoyable afternoon with good company and great sights to visit…. and just enough time to rest up for the evening’s activities.

Friday was “Folklorama on your own” and the North Dakota group decided to visit the German Pavilion. Supper was a multitude of choices of traditional German foods, including sauerkraut, bratwurst, rouladen, and apple and cherry strudel! The host and hostess for the night’s entertainment encouraged audience participation, and we jumped in on cue. Following the show, Don Thomson gave us a tour of the downtown area, before we headed back to the campground. A number of others continued on to other nearby pavilions afterwards.

Saturday morning, the Region 7 Business Meeting was held at a local church due to the weather. See our “President’s Corner” on page 2 of the Aug-Sept. 2009 newsletter for a short synopsis of the meeting. When the minutes are released, they will be published in a future issue of the newsletter.

Back at the campground, shore lunch was a walleye fish fry to keep everyone going for the day. At Happy Hour, Terrol Rogers drew names for door prizes, the last being “Bride” and Groom” t-shirts for Peter Breu and his fiancée, Irene Gardner. Peter’s long time friend, Ron Skelton, who is a marriage minister for the province, along with the rest of the group enthusiastically “prepped” the happy couple for their wedding in a couple months. After Happy Hour, many people headed out to the pavilions for the evening.

Sunday morning, the Manitoba Unit served coffee, juice and fresh donuts from Tim Hortons. Farewells were taken by many, but several members, including the Coonrods, were planning to stay on in Winnipeg, to take in the second week of different pavilions.

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