mia_mcdavid and I joined colgaffneyis expedition to Fort William in Thunder Bay, Ontario, for the Celtic Festival there July 23-24. It is a great place. The staff there was always pleasant, thoroughly competent, and anxious to please.
We had only 8 members there, but it was a perfect team. Everybody was cheerful, cooperative, and worked hard. There were no slackers. I wish all colgaffneyis events could be like that. It was the best time I have had with the organization in years. I took a few pictures of our camp and its activities.
It is an amazing site for people interested in traditional woodworking. Not only is there a carpenter's shop, but there is also a canoe maker, a cooper, and a gunsmith actively working there. I saw several shaving horses, at least one of which was 8 feet long (Shaving Clydesdale?). The canoemaker had two well used workbenches, each at least 24 feet long. There was a treadle lathe on which you could turn 6 foot spindles. I took a few pictures at the cooper's and canoe maker's shops, which you can see here.
The only issue we had with the whole event was at the on-site bar. On Saturday we found that the most prominently featured beer was Coors Light, which is like making love in a canoe. No Guinness. There was one blended Scotch. No single malts. No Irish whiskey. This is no way to slake the thirst of a Celtic festival. mia_mcdavid complained loudly. The caterer said he would bring in some Guinness the next day just for us. The manager of the festival delivered more Guinness and a bottle of 15 year old Glenfiddich to our camp. Everybody was very good-humored about the situation.
On Sunday mia_mcdavid, vitamin_g_prime, and I brought our lunches from colgaffneyis camp to the bar and enjoyed them with Guinness. We weren't sure we would drink all the Guinness, so Mia walked over to the next table, where a group from the Thunder Bay Police Pipe Band was sitting. She told them that thanks to colgaffneyis the bar had some Guinness in stock and they were welcome to partake. The response was enthusiastic. One female member of the band said, "It takes a woman to get something done!" All the Guinness in the bar was consumed.
Because Thunder Bay is a long way from the Twin Cities we stayed in camp through Sunday night. We got up early Monday morning, packed up our gear, and helped the other members who had also stayed over. We were on the road by 7:30 EDT. At the Pigeon River border crossing the U.S. Customs officer was very polite. When asked if we had anything to declare we duly mentioned the whisky and the remaining Guinness. I explained that we know the cost since they were gifts. He said, "You have some really good friends," and waved us through. Indeed we do.