For more than 100 years,since 1894 in fact, the village of Bear River has celebrated a festivity known as Cherry Carnival on the third Saturday of July. Cherries were once a mainstay of the agricultural component of Bear River and the village was quite famous for the quality of these fruit.
cherry orchard 1910 photo by Ralph Harris
Families from outlying areas would arrive by the truckful during cherry picking season and buy the rights to pick a tree, or even two. Unfortunately, the cherry orchards were wiped out buy a blight in the 1940′s, but the lack of cherries never stopped the village from having the cherry carnival.
It is still a huge event for the town, sponsored by the volunteer fire department as a fundraiser, and known far and wide as having some of the best fireworks in the province.
Grand street parade, 1920. Grand Central Hotel in background
The grand street parade was a favorite subject for many photographers over the past century. Here are just a few.
Grand street parade 1925
and this one from the 1930’s
The Grand street parade often gave residents a chance to show off their alter-egos…
even the lumberjacks got into the act
…of course prizes were always awarded!
Nowadays, the Cherries are brought in from Ontario or down the Valley, and the Hooplala isn’t quite as overwhelming as it once was. However, the volunteer firemen of the Bear River Firehall are to be commended in their efforts to keep this one village event alive and the hours of hard work put into the organization of Cherry Carnival should be appreciated with generous donations on Carnival Day.
As for the fireworks…there are none better in the province and that includes Halifax.
And now for the real icing on the cake! Angela McMullen has discovered this link which is a film about a trip to Bear River on Cherry Carnival in 1928. The part about Bear River starts at the 8 minute mark, and that really looks like it could be Harry Hill showing off, or maybe one of his brothers.
all contents on this page are copyright to Think for Yourself Publishing and the Bear River Tides. 2012
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