Your Moosefest Primer: Nine days of jam-packed fun

With preparations surrounding Dryden’s Centennial celebrations ramping up, organizers of MooseFest thought it might be a quieter year than normal.

But the schedule for the annual summer festival seems no less jam-packed this June 26 to July 4 as Dryden will play host to dozens of fun family events that celebrate life in northwestern Ontario.

“We thought we wouldn’t be as full this year with all the 2010 stuff happening,” said MooseFest director Devon MacKinnon.  “We scaled the festival back to about nine days, where we’re usually at about 16 days – but the schedule just kind of filled itself. We were pretty surprised how packed this week is going to be. It’s really exciting.”

From sporting events and games to entertainment, food and charity sales, over 35 events pack the week surrounding the Canada Day holiday.

This year will see the return of anchor events like the The Kinsmen Dragon Boat Races, the 2nd annual MooseFest Soapbox Derby, the Strongman Competition, Teddy Bear Picnic and Canada Day Triathlon among others.

Only the MooseFest Windsurf Regatta will bow out of the week’s festivities, saving their efforts for hosting the 2010 CMWA Canadian Windsurfing Championships, Aug. 6-8 at Sandy Beach – a key component of Homecoming Week.

Local paddlers have come together to organize a new event for MooseFest in 2010, The Northwestern Ontario Canoe and Kayak Championship Races – an event for a variety of skill levels to be staged at the Duke St. dock.

Pumped for a second year of Strongman

Some of Dryden’s fittest folk will put their strengths to the test this MooseFest at the second annual Strongman Competition.

The contest will be among the first MooseFest events, taking place Sunday, June 27, from 1-3 p.m. in the North Parking lot of the Dryden Recreation Complex.

The competition is based on a point system through five grueling events in lightweight and heavyweight (186+lbs) categories.

The Farmer Walk is a timed event where competitors carry two 150 lb cylinders a distance of 200 feet.

In the Bar Bend, competitors bend a three-foot long metal bar, 5/8 inch thick, until the ends touch.

The Tire Flip features five tires in a range of sizes – from tractor tires to small skidder tires – which the competitor must flip over.

The Tire Deadlift features 450 lbs of tires mounted on a barbell for competitors to deadlift and hold as long as possible.

In the Truck Pull, competitors will pull a 9,000 lb flatbed tow truck a distance of 50-75 feet.

Organizer Trevor Campbell says the atmosphere of camraderie and support between competitors made 2009’s inaugural Strongman Competition a special day.

“Last year they were very supportive of each other,” said Campbell. “The competitors were encouraging each other and sharing tips and strategies on the events – things that worked for them. It was very friendly. It’s not intimidating at all once you get there.”

This year, Campbell says the contest will be tweaked slightly to rotate the starting position for each event to avoid having the same competitor compete first in consecutive events.

There are big changes to the prize lineup this year as the Dryden Pool and Fitness Centre has stepped up to sponsor prizes. First prize in both the lightweight and heavyweight division is a six-month membership to the Dryden Pool and Fitness Centre. Second place will be awarded a three-month pass and third place will be awarded a 12-pass.

Soap Box Derby action moves to Colonization

Ask any kid with a bike where the fastest paved hill in Dryden is. The answer is a no-brainer – Colonization Ave.

Things are bound to get interesting for the racers in 2010’s MooseFest Soap- box Derby as the event moves from the tamely drooping grade of King St. between Van Horne and Whyte  Ave to the precipitous white-knuckle descent of the Colonization thoroughfare.

The races run from 1-3 p.m., Saturday, July 3.

“The cars are going to go twice as fast,” says Moosefest Soap Box Derby director Bill Laidlaw. “We’re running north from Wilde St. with the finish line down between Taylor and Wilson St. We’re testing everybody’s brakes really well this year.”

Laidlaw says spectators can expect to see a handful of new cars from a dedicated group of local builders this year and perhaps the return of an out-of-town contingent.

Last year’s fastest derby racer, built by Team Wice, will be accompanied by another entry into the event’s new modified class.

Laidlaw says the modified class allows for non-traditional construction and bigger wheels.

“In the modified class we’re allowing for ‘kit cars’ that can be bought in the States and assembled,” said Laidlaw. “If you want to build a body out of carbon composites and a titanium alloy frame, you can go right ahead.”

Also new this year, race timing will come down to head-to-head heats – the winner between the two will advance to subsequent rounds of racing.

As in the previous year, proceeds from the event will benefit the Dryden Youth Centre.

“That’s what we’re all about,” said Laidlaw. “To raise some money for the Youth Centre and have a lot of fun.”

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