‘Chapple Days’ draw crowds despite rain

“Chapple Days” got off to a great start Friday night with a wiener roast, music, and ice cream at the Both farm, but Mother Nature dampened activities Saturday with heavy rains.
On Friday evening, those on hand were entertained with music while they roasted marshmallows and hotdogs, and ate the Carr’s homemade ice cream.
Musicians performed on a variety of instruments, including a homemade fiddle. Shirley Brown played the “Q chord”—an electric keyboard shaped almost like a mandolin “with a lot of different voices,” she noted.
Chapple Reeve Bill Clink was seen strumming his mandolin and guitar, and was joined by Lyle Wheatley, Charlie and Phyllis Kivari, and Leonard Selman playing tunes around the bonfire.
Charlie Kivari also brought along his homemade fiddle. “I built it over four winters. It’s just a hobby,” said Kivari, who’s been playing fiddle for about two-and-a-half years.
The instrument contains a variety of different woods like black ash, spruce, and an exotic wood called bubinga, also known as African rosewood.
Bubinga is a pinkish-rose colour, veined with darker stripes.
The belly of the fiddle was made from an old door from CN Rail while other parts were made from a packing crate that came from South Africa. Kivari completed the instrument with firewood from his basement.
Unfortunately, the clear skies of Friday evening gave way to clouds and rain for much of Saturday, forcing people to seek shelter in cars, under the gazebo, and inside the community hall.
“Once the crowds leave, it’s hard to get them back,” organizer Rilla Race noted Saturday afternoon, though dozens of people turned out to watch the waterskiing demonstration and canoe race once the skies partially cleared.
Avid racers Devin and Brett Arenz of Cass Lake, Mn. won the six-boat race. Next the brothers are off for a three-day canoe race in northern Manitoba.
They were impressed with all the people who “stood out in the rain.”
“We like the lap course, it’s a good way to encourage participation,” Devin Arenz said the new course, which use to follow the Rainy River from Manitou Rapids to Barwick.
This year, canoeists had to circle the island near the waterfront three times before portaging over the final leg of the race.
Harold Kellar and his horses gave wagon rides when the rains weren’t too heavy, and many people enjoyed pontoon boat rides up to Manitou Rapids.
Meanwhile, John Fuhrer, Mel Petkau, Jon Barker, and Danny, Robby, and John Gavel braved the rain and rough waves to put on a waterskiing show that culminated in a six-man pyramid.
“The water was not very good, it was way too rough,” remarked Fuhrer, adding the waves had calmed just enough for the pyramid—the climax of the show.
“The river was quite low and we had to turn past the island to avoid rocks.”
Emcee Rod Salchert then cajoled the crowd into returning to the waterfront when the rains let up and auctioned off a canoe donated by Marlin Carr to raise money for a wheelchair-accessible washroom at the Chapple Museum.
“He’s always done so much for this community,” Reeve Clink noted of Carr.
The canoe was sold to Steve Brown, “home on vacation for $500 even,” said Salchert.