Beginners learning skating skills with figure skating club
New session of classes will start next week
released in the Niagara Advance
December 30, 2010

Alika Elliott, Christy Engemann and Kaityn Wiens
learn basic skills with the
Niagara-on-the-Lake Figure Skating Club.
Not sure figure skating is the right sport for your child?

How about hockey, ringette, or just learning to have fun and be safe on the ice?

The Niagara-on-the-Lake Figure Skating Club offers programs for beginners of all ages, designed to develop a variety of skating skills. The CanSkate program focuses on fun, participation and basic skill development.

It is beneficial to any skater with an interest in ice sports, including figure skating, hockey and ringette.

Skaters are grouped according to ability and taught by certified professional coaches assisted by qualified program assistants. Skaters develop forward and backward skating skills, stopping, turning, jumping, edges and crosscuts. Badges are awarded when all skills have been achieved.

"We might have the next Sidney Crosby or Joannie Rochette among us. If we do, we want to find them," says NOTL Figure Skating Club spokesperson Darlene Dortono.

And for those who will not reach the level of a professional hockey player or Olympic figure skater, she said, lessons will give them an opportunity to learn new skills.

With the next session about to start, it's especially timely for youngsters who will be skating with their schools during the winter, she adds.

Coaches make the sessions active using teaching aids, music and a variety of theme and fun days held throughout the season.

Skate Canada and the NOTL club strongly recommend a properly fitted CSA hockey helmet for all beginner skaters.

The skating club offers a pre-school CanSkate session for beginners ages three to five at the Virgil arena Thursdays, from 4 to 4:45 p.m., and Mainstream CanSkate sessions, for beginners aged five and up, from 4-4:50 p.m.

On Saturdays, the Pre-school session is from 3 to 3:45 and Mainstream from 3:45 to 4:35.

Students can choose one or class or attend both, says Dortono.

The club also offers an adult session on Wednesday evenings from 7 to 7:50 p.m.

All programs begin next week, Jan. 5 for adults, Jan. 6 and 8 for kids.

Registration for the January session can be arranged by calling the club at 905-468-7465 or emailing the office at Information is also available at

Parents or guardians of pre-school and CanSkate skaters must remain at the arena during lesson time for their children's safety and encouragement.

that's my niece!!

Niagara Blades bring home gold

released in the Niagara Advance
09 December 2010

The Niagara Blades, a novice girls travel team playing
in a Niagara Falls girls league, traveled to Stratford
recently and won each of their five games,
coming home tournament champions.
The Niagara Blades of the Niagara Falls Girls Hockey Association traveled to Stratford to bring home a tournament trophy in the novice division—and they did.

The team of Niagara-on-the-Lake girls—there is no girls travel division in NOTL—played three preliminary and two playoff games to capture the gold.

Not knowing what to expect, the team came out strong beating London 5-1. Goaltender Lauren Viviers stole the spotlight making numerous saves to earn the game star. Emma Penner and Katie Miller each scored two goals with Avery Penner adding the single. Assists went to Jessica Paul with two, and singles to Emma, Avery, and Abbey Penner.

Playing against the host team, Brooklyn Clark paced the way scoring five in an 8-1 win over Stratford. Emma Penner collected two and Miller one. Single assists went to Isabella Antonucci, Emma, Avery and Abbey Penner.

The third game Niagara won over the Twin Centre was a lopsided 12-0 victory. Miller and Clark potted four each and Emma Penner and Emma Andres two a piece. Assists went to Emma Penner, Clark, Paul and Abbey Penner.

These same two teams hooked up in the playoffs with a totally different outcome. Great defence by Antonucci and Tiana Hollowchuk combined with great saves by Viviers, Niagara snuck by with a 1-0 victory.

Great plays from Emma Andres, Alice Hellwig and Berlin Wiens just couldn't get by the goaltender. A fine pass from Lexi Buis went to Clark in a breakaway with Avery Penner trailing to pick up the rebound and score a late goal.

In the final match the Blades held off a London team 3-1. With the Blades up 2-1 late in the game, Miller sealed the championship with seconds remaining.

Hollowchuk, Hellwig and Ana Laura Mancuso got in on the scoring action picking up single assists as did Miller. Clark and Emma Penner added the other goals.

cancer shouldn't happen to kids :(

I went to Bible school with Shari (Emmalee's Mom). To see an update click here.

Dealing with leukemia difficult for three-year-old and family
By Greg Vandermeulen
05 November 2010

Emmalee Chubaty pictured at her uncle's
wedding where she was a flower girl
in mid-August. Although she was not yet
diagnosed, which happened after her fall,
the cancerous cells were present in her body.
It's a battle no one should be asked to fight. But at the age of three, taking on cancer seems like an insurmountable task.

Not even a month from first diagnosis to present, three-year-old Emmalee Chubaty has undergone more medical treatments than many people do in a lifetime.

Diagnosed on Sept. 30 with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, Chubaty has been on a rough road toward recovery.

As Ridgeville area farmers and parents Wayne and Shari try to adjust to their new reality, Emmalee is in the fight of her life.

On Oct. 26, Shari Chubaty talked about how far her daughter had come. "She's responding the way they hoped she'd respond," Shari said.

Because her ability to fight infection is compromised, Emmalee hasn't been able to go home until now.

She started telling me she would stop doing
bad things if I made the pokey things stop.

- Shari Chubaty

"They've given us the green light," Shari said.

Because of Emmalee's fragile immune system, renovations had to be hurriedly completed on the home, including ripping out the carpets, having the ducts and the entire furnace system inspected and cleaned.

Shari said doctors told them they could not engage in renovations anytime soon, once their daughter's home.

"It has to be done now or not for three years," she said.

Changes to their farm house are the least of their worries for the last few weeks.

With Emmalee, her troubles began in early August when she fell off her bed. "That kick-started her pain," Shari said. "She didn't want to walk after that."

They took her to the doctor and was told there was nothing wrong and that she was faking.

Two weeks later they brought her to a different doctor who thought she had possibly sprained her ankle.

Emmalee started walking again shortly after, but that only lasted a week.

Shari said they brought her to Altona where the doctor expressed concern for her paleness. "Her lips were white," Shari recalled.

Blood work was done, and that's when the Chubaty family's lives changed.

"Before I got back to my car, (the doctor) told me to take her to Winnipeg for a blood transfusion."

Just how serious her condition actually was, became apparent quickly, as instead of feeling better, Emmalee felt much worse.

"She had minor heart failure because her body wasn't used to white blood cells and oxygen," she said.

That day in Winnipeg will never be forgotten. As Emmalee had various tests, Shari said they received the news. "By 3:30 p.m. there was an oncologist in the room telling me she had cancer," she said.

Although she wasn't allowed to jump on the bed, Shari said that action, and the subsequent fall, may have saved her life.

"The oncologists had told us that her fall was the best thing that could have happened to her, that if she hadn't shown those signs of pain prompting us to persue things further, she would have lasted until December, and that we could have easily lost her with how low her counts were," she said.

Since then she has had five bone marrow aspirations, a spinal tap and chemotherapy. A control line has been put in her chest for chemotherapy.

And the formerly friendly and outgoing little girl is now afraid of everyone.

Shari described it as horrific, saying Emmalee doesn't know why all this is happening.

"She started to say no more," Shari said. "She started telling me she would stop doing bad things if I made the pokey things stop."

"She won't speak to people anymore," Shari added. "She was my social butterfly."

Her physical appearance has also changed. Her hair is cut short, (to help prepare her for hair loss), her face is puffy, and she has gone up four sizes in clothes thanks to steroids and chemo for one month. "She doesn't look at all like the same little girl," she said.

Emmalee had a word for people she thought of as heroes. To her they were all "superman".

"I call her my superman," she said.

But Shari and Wayne also have a one-year-old son, who is being looked after by friends during all of this.

Shari said there has also been a trust fund set up at Scotia Bank in Emerson, and D.D.'s Country Kitchen held a fundraising breakfast on Oct. 30.

Not from the area (she grew up in Regina but Wayne is local), Shari said she is stunned by the support.

"It's been incredible, absolutely unreal," she said.

Although at first they greeted news of the trust fund with mixed feelings, Shari said they have come to appreciate what has been done.

"You don't think that would ever be something we need," she said.

Shari said they are thankful that Emmalee has made it through the first part of treatment and are optimistic for her recovery, since the type of leukemia she has is the most curable.

But she recognizes the next three years are going to be tough ones. "It's going to be really hard for a long time," she said.

Dad's 60th Birthday

On October 16th, Dad's 60th birthday was celebrated in style. Yup, lots of meat, friends, fun and games. 60 may not seem like a huge milestone to some, but in the Wiens family it is a big deal. My dad is the first male in his family to reach that age and it's big because his parents and oldest sister didn't make it out of their 50s.

harvest time

The months of praying for the weather to co-operate, attempting to get the government to co-operate, trying to get the wineries to co-operate and attempting to keep the bugs and the birds away, all come down to this - the harvest.

This is a crazy time of year when you still pray for the weather to co-operate, you still want the co-operation of the government and the wineries and you still need the birds and bugs to stay away. The difference is that now you're also out there for hours at a time getting the "liquid gold" off the vine, into the harvesters, onto the trucks and to the wineries where it's tested for sugar content before being used to make wine.

Yup, a lovely, crazy time of year.

food for thought

Yup, it's that time of year again! I know, it's crazy how the time flies. In a few hours I'll be thoroughly enjoying a yummy turkey dinner with ALL the fixin's. The table will be laden with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn, gravy, squash, salad, bread, cranberry sauce and probably a couple of things that I'm forgetting right now. And then, as if that's not enough, for dessert there'll be pumpkin pie and Obst Moos (a cold fruit soup, for those of you who don't know what Obst Moos is). My mouth is already watering in anticipation as I'm writing this.

It's funny how often Thanksgiving is associated with food. Right now, sure, we're taking time to be thankful for family and friends and all the good things in our lives. But at any other time, if we think of Thanksgiving we usually think of turkey. Hmmm... just a little food for thought.

Onkel Jash

KLASSEN, Jakob - Peacefully, at Niagara On The Lake Hospital on Friday, September 24, 2010, Jakob Klassen, aged 82 years. Beloved husband of Anna Enns. Dear father of Ferd and Muggs, Gita and Bill Durksen, Fritz and Grace, Dieter and Julie, Doris and Harry Wiens. Opa to Mike (Lauren), Matt (Bev), Tim, Mark, Emily, Robert, David, Abigail, Kristen, Michelle, Harrison and Olivia and great grandchild Nathan. Brother of Peter and Else, David and Tina (2010), Paul and Edith, Werner and Lydia. The family will receive friends at the Scott St. Mennonite Brethren Church, 339 Scott St. on Monday (today) 2-4 and 7-8:30 p.m. Private family interment service at Victoria Lawn Cemetery prior to the Funeral Service to be held at the Church on Tuesday, September 28th at 10:30 a.m.

RIP Willy

HEIDEBRECHT, William - It is with great sadness we announce the sudden passing of William on Tuesday, September 14, 2010, at 41 years of age, while doing what he loved in Switzerland. Beloved husband of Amanda for more than 15 years. Loving father of Alexandria, Jarret and Dylan. Cherished son of Susie and John Heidebrecht. Dear brother of Kevin (and Juanita). Son-in-law of Neil and Doris Imhoff and brother-in-law of Neil (and Michelle) Imhoff and April (and Scott) Redekop. William will be lovingly remembered by his aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, his extended family, the St. Catharines Fire Department and all who knew him.

At St. Catharines fire stations, the meal du jour Tuesday, September 21 was Stagg chili and toast. The combination was a favourite of William Heidebrecht, the 11-year veteran of the service who was killed in a BASE jumping accident last week in Switzerland. During Heidebrecht's funeral Tuesday, St. Catharines fire Capt. Joel Chatterton, said firefighters would chow down on chili to remember their comrade.

Nearly 100 Niagara area firefighters stood at attention outside the Scott Street Mennonite Brethren Church as an honour guard when the fire truck, decorated in the dead man's firefighting gear and carrying Heidebrecht's casket, arrived. They filled the church to listen to family and friends talk about the man described as a muscular and affable family man and firefighter.

Chatterton recalled a time he was asked to help Heidebrecht prepare for a firefighter's calender by spotting him in the weight room. There he was, (bench pressing) 315 pounds. He does 10 reps of that and I asked, 'What is it you expect me to do exactly? I can't even budge that.'On photo day, just as the photographer was about to snap his picture, Heidebrecht said 'wait!' and then flexed every muscle in his body, causing the women present to gasp, 'Oh my,' Chatterton said.

After telling other funny stories about Heidebrecht, who died in a BASE jumping accident, Chatteron talked about the last blaze the firefighter attended. It was the Oct. 4 fire at 11 Oakwood Ave. Chatteron said it was a particularly bad fire, which is now under investigation by police as an arson/homicide, with flames erupting about two metres from the windows. Heidebrecht and several firefighters were inside the house when the fire got so bad they were ordered out. Normally, firefighters use a hose to guide them out when smoke and flames makes it impossible to see. But in this case, the hose was tangled up in the fire room of the house. Heidebrecht, Chatterton said, was able to see light coming from an open door, grabbed one of his fellow firefighters and hauled him out of the house before diving through the door himself.

Will was a fire fighter in St. Catharines.
One of his hobbies was BASE jumping.

The honour guard along Scott Street.
The honour guard at the church.

inherited books

I LOVE reading! I'll say it again I LOVE READING!!!

Yup, I really do. I love it even more when I inherit books for free from lovely people. I think it was about a year ago, when I inherited about 20 well-used, well-loved and well-read books from a good friend. Dan has a rather amazing library filled with many interesting and unique finds as well as many "classics". I could spend hours perusing the well-stocked shelves of his room. So, when he said he was down-sizing his collection, I totally jumped all over that.

One sunny, summer afternoon, we spent some time going through the stacks of books he had already removed from the shelves in the hopes that they would find their way into new homes where they would be appreciated. Some of those books made their way into my bookshelves. YAY!!

The only problem was that I didn't have time to read them right away. I already had a series I was working on and then some one lent me another series and then I started another series while I was housesitting and... it just kept going. But I just finished a series and am looking to start another one (and yes, I know I have a lot of reading to do for school, but I NEED to have some pleasure reading in my life too). So, here I am perusing my bookshelf and TA-DA!!

Tonight I pulled out "Shōgun" by James Clavell. It is the first novel of the author's Asian Saga (not the first one he wrote, but chronologically the first one). Beginning in 1600 in feudal Japan, some months before the critical battle of Sekigahara, it gives an account of the rise of the daimyo "Toranaga" (based upon the actual Tokugawa Ieyasu) of the Shogunate, seen through the eyes of an English sailor whose fictional heroics are loosely based on William Adams's exploits. I'm pleased to say I inherited the first 4 books of the 6 book series and am now searching for the remaining 2. So, YAY for inherited books!!

decorating cakes

Last fall (I think) I took a cake decorating course with my cousin. It was something fun that we could do together and something that I've made a lot of use of. If you've seen my (recipe blog, you may guess that I enjoy being in the kitchen. And it's true, I enjoy baking and cooking but I also enjoy the presentation of food. So here is a small sampling of some of the cakes I've decorated in the past year. Yes, there will be more, but I'm also kinda dumb and don't always take pics of the stuff I've done. I've done at least 1 birthday cake for 2 of my nieces and my nephew and I know pictures were taken, just not with my camera. So, I'll have to track the pictures down before I can post some more.

what would your album cover look like?

What would your own album look like if you were in a band? Follow the directions below and find out.

1 - Go to Wikipedia. Hit “random” or click here
The first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 - Go to Quotations Page and select "random quotations" or click here
The last four or five words of the very last quote on the page is the title of your first album.

3 - Go to Flickr and click on “explore the last seven days” or click here
The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 - Use Photoshop, Paint or something similar to put it all together.

5 - Post it.

This is the one I did today.

This is one I did last May.

here we go again

That's right ladies and gentlemen... I am going back to school, again. And it feels like my academic journey to become a teacher has turned into me a career student. I guess it sucks to be me - at least as far as my lovely school, Brock University, is concerned.

This is the Schmon Tower at Brock University.
Don't get me wrong, I usually love this time of year. I wait for it all summer long - the escape from reality into the world of academia.. But for some reason I'm more jaded and bitter about school this year than ever before. But it's not the concept of school, it's just the school I'm at.

My classes are ok, my professors are pretty good and I've spent far too much money on text books and photocopying mandatory readings for classes. I don't mind photocopying some stuff sometimes, but  3 or 4 articles (minimum 15 pages each) for every week in just one class seems a bit excessive. Although I am glad that we don't have to buy even more textbooks or, even worse, prepared course packages.

Just kick me! Yup, that's what it feels like most days. I know it'll be worth it in the end - when I'm holding that ever-so-important little piece of paper that tells the world I'm a teacher. But until then, I think I'll just grumble a bit more.

But only a little bit :)

a take on a wedding

A long-time family friend wrote up a little something about my brother's wedding this summer for some other family friends who were unable to attend. I just came across it and really liked it. I have removed the names that were in the original e-mail. I added in some pictures for visuals of the written descriptions.


The wedding.

[The groom's mom] wore a beautiful knee length fitted shirred dress in a smokey purple colour. It had beading and added shirring detail at the neck. It really looked pretty and she'd had her hair done quite fancy by someone else. She said it looked messy, but it looked really good, flipped up all over. I don't remember what [his dad] was wearing.

[The groom] walked his mom in to the front of the church with his dad following behind. Sweet. [His] groomsmen were - best man - his brother [and 3 longtime friends]. The groomsmen wore black tuxes with grey stiped shirts. They all looked good. When the groomsmen walked to the front from the front side entrance they all stood in a line with their backs to the audience. Then [the groom] spun around and gave [the best man] a shove, [the best man] spun around and gave [groom's man 1] a shove etc., etc. It was cute.

The ring bearer was [the groom's nephew]. He came in on a battery operated, motorized John Deere tractor with an orange tool box in front of him with the ring inside.

Following him were [the groom's 3 nieces] the oldest two pulling a red wagon with the youngest, about 6 months, reclining inside. It was cute.

The bridesmaids wore black sleeveless fitted knee length dresses. They looked very pretty. I didn't know the bridesmaids.

[The bride] looked lovely, she had a strapless dress, fitted to the waist and then flaired with a little train. She didn't have a veil, but rather a flower with a spray of feathers in her hair.

[The bride's] dad brought her down the aisle. When they stopped near the front [the groom] came towards them. The [pastor] asked, who gives the bride? And the father said, "Her brothers and I do". It was a sniff kind of moment and a really nice touch. And then the wedding party was all gathered at the front. And the pastor acknowledged that they felt the loss of [the bride's] mom, that 6 months ago they'd been in church to say their goodbyes to her... and they would now have blessings from both sides of the family and the audience. So first [the father of the bride] and [her] two brothers stood in their place in the audience and read a blessing, and then [the groom's parents] stood where they were and read a blessing, and then the pastor read a blessing and the audience said, "We do." And then there were two congregational songs let by [a friend of the groom]. He suddenly popped up from the front left aisle of the church and stood right there while we stood and sang. Two traditional hymns. They must have had special meaning because they weren't all that wedding-y. And then there was a scripture reading by someone who popped up from the front right aisle. And then [the bride's uncle] gave a somewhat lengthy meditation. The verse it was based on was the love of God the height and breadth and depth. There was a prologue on what the verse was based on and he wove in the story of Jewish children, but I couldn't hear it properly and there was also a main part, which related to today and the wedding and then there is a postlude and conclusion. [He] is very well read but very soft spoken. He ended by telling the story of one of Tolstoy's books. Tolstoy believed that the love of God was everything and he wrote some very interesting books, one of which involved a Cobbler and his three visitors.

Next came the vows. [The bride and groom] both read them off a card held by the pastor, and they got that done quickly without any breakdowns of emotional excess or nervous giggling. And then the pastor said, I now pronounce you man and wife. They kissed and hugged and departed the church to a lively rocky tune. There were no candles or candle ceremonies or ring ceremonies or signing of the register ceremonies. I'm not saying that I missed them, just that they weren't part of the ceremony.

There were no church decorations other than two beautiful large multicoloured flower arrangements at the front with peaches filling the bottom of the vases, and what must have been the church ferns and other greenery. Nothing on the pews or window ledges etc. No arbors, candles or little tables. I'm not saying I missed it, just that it wasn't there. When we walked into the church there was a table with a few photos on it and a photo album where you signed your name.

[The groom's Aunt S] was not at the ceremony. Apparently [she] rented a handicap van and one of [her husband's] caregivers at Lyndhurst offered to drive [them] to the reception on his own time and for no charge. [The caregiver] and his wife will stay at [their] house tonight. How nice, yes? So [the groom's Aunt S] will have [the caregiver] there to help with all the heavy stuff. [My son and his girlfriend] were invited to the wedding. I was somewhat surprised to see them. Didn't know they'd been invited. [...] Ooooh, I also saw [the 4th grade teacher of 2 of my sons]. He's not a popular man in our household. He had no tolerance for slower learners and he was mean to [my oldest son]. And then he failed him. At least that's how we as a family look at it :) From behind me and to the far right, [my son] suddenly stage whispered to me, "Is that MR. ****** SITTING ACROSS THE AISLE?" And I nodded yes. And he stage-whispered, "HE FAILED [my brother]!!". I nodded yes. But he looked like he expected me to wrestle the man to the ground and throw him out of church. I shushed [my son] and restrained myself from any outbursts of physical violence.

After the wedding we went to [a friend's] place for yerba along with [some others]. The reception at [the groom's parents' house] starts at 5pm.

We were seated at a table with [the groom's parents, the groom's Aunt K and Uncle R and the groom's grandmother]. We had a nice time. [...]

[The] grounds were really beautiful. There was a large white tent set up in the side yard. When we got there we were directed to a different section of the gardens where they had a punch table and ice cream bars available. There was about an hour of mingling and then we sat at round tables inside the big white tent.

There were 2 or 3 chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and 81 chinese lanterns of various sizes, mostly white, with some lime green. The table linens and chairs were white. The tent rental place wanted $10.00 for renting each chinese lantern. (they're round paper globes with wire inside). They found the same thing on-line and at dollar stores around the city for $1.00 each. They didn't light, but they looked really pretty.

Each table had a centerpiece in a squat square vase with a variety of flowers. Very pretty.

[The groom's Aunt S and Uncle M] showed up just as the food was starting. They both looked good. [The groom's uncle] looks like he’s lost a lot of weight and he looks older, but he held up well at the reception and they stayed till after 9.

I have never had better food at a wedding in my life. They had a caterer who made 4 kinds of green salads, an assortment of different breads, a pasta dish, tiny coloured tortellini filled with cheese in a cream sauce, tiny oven baked potatoes, carrots, broccoli with cheese, amazing melt in your mouth chicken breasts with a light cream sauce, green beans and then there was a different meat station with beef tenderloin that had been barbequed by Fritz Klassen, Matt Wiens, Carlos Wiens, Bob Wiens and Harry Wiens. It was seasoned perfectly and you had your choice of rare, medium, medium-well and well done. It just melted in your mouth too.

And then there was a dessert buffet. At least 15 varieties of cakes and tortes each one better than the last. We'd barely finished the program and they brought out another assortment of food. A sushi bar, huge shrimp, cheese-filled tortilla bites and many other squares and slices. It was hard work but I think [my friend] and I sampled almost everything.

There was a bottle of red and a bottle of white wine at each table. After the meal every table got a bottle of ice wine. Lots of coffee and tea and the huge punchbowl kept getting refilled too. One funny thing was that one of the waitresses suddenly came up to [my husband] and started chatting like old friends. He had no idea who she was until he suddenly realized that he'd just finished pouring a basement for her and her husband. It was one of those things where he thought she looked familiar but he couldn't place her. He knew she was a teacher, so he asked what she was doing moonlighting for a caterer. She said she had to earn extra money to pay for her new big house :)

The program was short but nice. [The bride's] 2 brothers were the MCs and they did a really good job. They have quick one-liners and a good sense of humour. When they introduced the wedding party, they had funny comments for everyone. For [groom's man 2], they said that he’s been spotted in downtown St. Catharines checking the parking metres. He may try telling you that he’s a cop but don’t believe him. For [groom's man 1] they said, he’s an engineer and works for Hydro 1. Although he won’t admit it he’s responsible for the recent power outage that shut of electricity in southern Ontario and parts of the U.S. He did it because he was tired of standing in [the groom's] shadow. For [the best man, a.k.a. the groom's brother] they said that he likes to think he’s a carnivore and hunter, barbequer, but he’s been spotted sitting in his dark basement secretly eating vegetables with humus.

There were really good speeches by the best man and the maid of honour. No sobbing and very funny in places. Speeches by [the groom's parents and the father of the bride]. A funny song sung by [the groom's nephew and oldest 2 nieces] with pictures of [the groom's] various mustache growths accompanying it. A short slide show, a speech by [the bride and groom], and that was it.

Then everyone was told to go out of the tent onto the lawn and there was an amazing fireworks show. I think it rivaled the Virgil Stampede. After that there were about 20 4ft-diameter paper lanterns set alight (I think a small gas canister inside was lit) and they were released and floated up into the night sky. It was so pretty watching each one follow its own flight path and disappear into the dark. They'd gotten permission from the Niagara on the Lake airport to do it. It looked kind of dangerous to me but apparently they go high enough that they don't set anything on fire and when the gas runs out, they burn up in the air or do something biodegradable. By then I was too full to really care about the consequences. Closer friends and relatives lit the lanterns and then the very last one was lit and set afloat by [the father of the bride]. It was beautiful and symbolic.


And after that some of the people stayed outside, some went to visit inside the tent and others danced or ate sushi and stuff.

A very funny moment happened when [a friend of the couple] (I think she was the D.J. came up to [the groom's father] and asked him to check the fan in the women's bathroom. She said it was really really really hot in there. [Friend L] and I were wondering why anyone would stay in the washroom long enough to feel the heat that drastically, but [the groom's father] went to check it out. [My husband] helpfully suggested that he take a paper fan along and fan the women as they entered the washroom. ha ha. I should say that the rented washrooms were very nice and I personally didn't find them overwhelmingly hot at all. They were big and white and clean. Between the men's and women's section was a wheelbarrow painted John Deere green and filled with flowers.

[Friend M] did the decorating. [Friend K] said she had helped [by] filling vases with water etc. I reassured her the water in the vases looked particularly clear and fresh. That she'd done a good job. Also I noticed that at the end of the evening, while [friend L] and I were busy with food, [friend M] came up to [friend K] who was in the process of brushing date square crumbs off her top and asked [friend K] to help collect vases and take them to the garage. [Friend M's] sons were also helping. [Her husband] was particularly helpful in that he had a small pen flashlight on hand and he was illuminating the sushi display for [friend L] and me.

I particularly liked the section of the gardens were the fireworks were displayed. There were paper bag lanterns randomly hanging in the trees. On the other side of the large tent, there were strands of mostly white lights strung from the tall trees. There were also paper bag lanterns lighting the path to the washrooms.

[My husband] and I left at around 10:30.