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RespiteHub Staff

Families arrived to the Plex in a steady stream on Wednesday evening, March 9 for the Town of Saugeen Shores' 2016 Spring and Summer Leisure Fair to sign up and get information on a variety of programs, from sports such as lacrosse, skating, rugby and baseball to activities such as dancing, singing and performing arts as well as a variety of other groups and organizations.

“It's the biggest leisure fair we've had yet,” said Saugeen Shores Marketing and Programs Coordinator, Laura McKenna, who added that there were also a few new organizations sign up this year.

Thirty-one vendors in all registered for the annual event but due to illness two couldn't make it. “Usually we have 24 vendors,” said McKenna.

The Southampton Arts Centre was on hand looking to fill children's art classes and a kids' cuisine cooking class. The Centre was also sharing information about a colouring contest, open to adults, for a chance to be on the cover of their 2017 program guide in celebration of their 60th anniversary.

SouthPort Pentecostal Church was at the Fair for the first time promoting their new Kids Cove program. The program started in September and runs Sunday mornings. “It's for newborns to grade 6,” said Keanna Brandsma. “Just come out for the entire duration of the service and we do games and we have a video presentation and the kids just come and hang out. It's lots of fun.”

Dave Hall, a coach with Saugeen Shores Minor Baseball was there to give out information, as the club opened their registration online prior to the Fair. “We're already sitting at probably 85 percent of our reservation but then normally the new players want to know a little bit more about the program,” said Hall.

Recreational Respite was another newcomer to the Leisure Fair and to Saugeen Shores. “We're a team of recreation therapists and what we do is specifically identify how to engage a child or a youth or a teen or a young adult with very special needs whether it be Autism or Alzheimers,” said Founder and CEO, Amy MacFarlane, who added that they will be running programs in Saugeen Shores in April. “We've been running since 2008 but we're just new here in this community,” she said.

Another new vendor was the Allegro Youth Choir, a choir for children grades 4 through 12. “We rehearse once a week and we do a lot of concerts in the community with other choirs but we also do some really fun things,” explained Erin Milley-Patey who said they were at the Fair to promote themselves and be a presence in the community.

Lake Huron Children's Festival members were looking for volunteers for their July 9 festival and promoting one of the big attractions to the festival, children entertainers, Splash'N Boots. “We're also doing a give away so people could win tickets,” said Amy Shute of the Children's Festival Committee.

The Celtic Academy were at the Fair promoting their summer camp. “We bring Irish dance and music to the Shores every summer for a week in August,” said Academy owner, Mary Foley, who added the Academy was holding a draw for a child to win a free week at camp.

New to the Fair and a new sport to Saugeen Shores was the Bruce County Skating Club. Saugeen Shores Councillor, John Rich who spearheaded the club said online registration was doing well. “I think that we're probably sold out in the younger age group now and our older age group we're maybe about a third sold out now.” He added, “If I get this to max out I'll be overjoyed.”

Another member of the Saugeen Shore Council was also in attendance, Vice Deputy Mayor, Diane Huber, also a member of the Southport Horticultural Society was looking for new members for the organization. “We're in a rebuilding phase,” said Huber. “As soon as we hit the magic number of 50 memberships the province actually supports horticultural groups with $1000 so it's very important for us each year to hit that mark.”Childrens FestivalBaseballCrowd 1

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