As the day progressed, and from the later reports that were being aired, it became obvious that the bulk of the stormy weather had in fact remained north and east of the Boyd Conservation Park. As the clouds lifted, the event organizers collectively breathed a sigh of relief in thanksgiving that our annual picnic will again be spared from a rain event.
Shortly after mid-day and under bright sunshine, site preparations were in full swing, and it was not long before our members, friends and guests began to arrive.
Things were in place! The flags were in place and Patches was already playing music. Glenor 's seasoned rice, conch water, red herrings and dumplings and other delicacies would soon be ready. Avon's offerings included jerk chicken, doucana and salt fish, fungee and shad and of course her sugar cake; everything spiced just right.
Other items available for sale included fish, corn, cupcakes, assorted drinks, patties, puddings, craft items and Antigua and Barbuda tee shirts.
Everything was ready. When the crowds started to arrive and both National Anthems were played, it was about 2:00 p. m.
Throughout the afternoon, Nationals and their friends came and left, even as others came. Some guests were playing Dominoes while others waited for their turn to sit at the board. Others were more interested in Warri whether just watching or actually playing, and the food vendors carried on brisk businesses.
DJ Patches' music selections were certainly instrumental in the impromptu dancing competition which turned out to be quite entertaining. Some enjoyed the music while networking or catching up with friends and other family members while others got re-acquainted with long lost friends.
Not to be left out, the kids kept busy competing against one another in various games. There were lots of prizes awarded not only to the winners of these events, but also to the participants of various activities. Special thanks must be given to Roderic Southwell and his able team for organizing the kids, for planning and executing these events, for sourcing and preparing the prizes and for presenting all the participants and winners at the prize winning ceremony.
Special thanks are also due to the staff members of Toronto 2015 who used the occasion as a vehicle to assist in the promotion of the Toronto 2015 Pan Am & Parapan American Games, by providing promotional literature, giveaways and for the opportunity, for those interested, to apply to be volunteers during the Games in Toronto in 2015.
As the evening rolled in, the music level was slowly lowered and as our guests were slowly departing, one by one and family by family, the time came to pull the plug on yet another of ABAT's July 1st Family Summer Picnic.
The tables were cleared; the garbage put in its place; the decorations taken down; the coals at the fish fry station were extinguished and the music making equipment was stowed away. After one final look around, we turned our backs on Boyd Conservation Park until July 1st, 2015 when we hope that we will be able to again host 300 of our close Antiguan and Barbudan friends and family members.