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This year's Summerfest will be scaled back

A South Porcupine business owner is confident the tradition can be resurrected
2019-07-12 Jakes MH
Jake's in downtown South Porcupine is offering a scaled down version of Summerfest July 18-20. Maija Hoggett/TimminsToday

For more than two decades, the third weekend in July has been a chance for the east end to reconnect.

While this year's 25th annual Summerfest will be a scaled down version, Jake's owner Tom Vlaad is confident the summer tradition can be resurrected.

For this year, the bar in downtown South Porcupine is running three nights of activities July 18 - 20. 

It kicks off on the Thursday with movie trivia at 7 p.m. Friday starting at 9 p.m. there is live music with Kyle Cote and Bobby Allen, and Saturday will feature Cote and The 287s. 

“If we can get a crowd similar to what we’ve had the last couple of years on the outside but have them inside, it will be just like winter carnival and it will be successful," said Vlaad. 

He has been part of the festival from the start.

“They were working on the playground at Golden Avenue and there was a group that was running little kids games in the McDonald’s/Pro Hardware parking lot to raise some money,” he recalled.

He rallied members of the dart league to make Italian sausage for the kids to raise more cash, and that, he said, was "kind of the first one."

That summer, he was at Schumacher's street festival and there were live bands at the Grandview, Schumacher Hotel and Tisdale. 

“And I said to my buddy as I sipped on my beer, this is doable in South Porcupine,” he said.

Soon after, he remembers running into Eva Saari, who owned the Central Tavern, and mentioned doing something on the street. 

For the first couple of years, the Summerfest crowds were much bigger than they could have planned for. 

There were kids activities and events offered throughout the day, with the beer gardens and bands keeping the streets closed at night.

“You see talk recently of the reunions, and that was basically what it kind of was. We would have people that would show up and you might live on the same street as somebody and not see them all year long, well you were going to meet them downtown, you were going to run into them downtown because it was that type of event that everybody came out to,” he said.

“That just fosters that community spirit. It was electric.”

There was a formula to that success, and while health issues have slowed Vlaad down the past couple of years, he's confident that it can be brought back.

“I have complete faith that Summerfest is something that we can resurrect, but there’s a process to go through and unfortunately the process takes time,” he said. 


Maija Hoggett

About the Author: Maija Hoggett

Maija Hoggett is an experienced journalist who covers Timmins and area
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