October 4th Photojournalism Pioneer

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Albert Street was filled with the sound of the men’s barbershop chorus group, A Capella Quinte, who performed during Porchfest in Belleville. Photo by Sasha Sefter

Porchfest strikes a chord

By Sasha Sefter

As the golden fall sun sails across an ocean blue sky, beams of welcomingly warm light stream through scattered clouds on this brisk Saturday afternoon in Belleville.

Today, however, a chill isn’t the only thing in the air.

The sounds of guitars being tuned and vocal chords being vibrated begin to fill the empty streets as they float on a gentle breeze through the neighbourhood of East Hill.

Today is Porchfest.

The typically sleepy and subdued neighbourhood of East Hill in Belleville is about to unleash all of its pent up liveliness and soul. For the 10th year in row, residents have volunteered their porches, driveways and front lawns as makeshift stages for all sorts of musical performances. The day will see 51 artists perform, a far cry from the five who entertained in the event’s inaugural year.

The neighbourhood comes alive as the music grows louder, streaming from every intersection, pulling even the most couch-planted potatoes out into the streets. Faces that have only briefly glanced at each other through windows and rear-view mirrors find themselves inches from each other, merrily belting out the lyrics to a mutually-adored classic tune.

Soon the streets are full. “Grown-up” composure quickly fades as adults and children alike seem to be skipping through the streets to catch glimpses of each performance, not wanting to miss a thing. Laughter and applause echo through the alleyways, illuminating any shade that dares to show itself. It seems the magic of music finds a way to erase time and urge memories to flow from hearts to minds more easily.

The yearly event is organized by the Rotary Club of Belleville and shows no signs of slowing down. Boasting twice as many performers this year than last, the event has seen a steady growth in participants and attendees since its inception. The response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive.

Asked why he feels this yearly to-do has taken off, homeowner and volunteer Dr. Gary Woodhill said, “It is an incredibly important event. It allows the neighbourhood to take a breath and come together for some fun.

“It reminds us to spend time with and appreciate each other. Also, we just finished renovating our deck, so it’s nice to show that off too.”

Something in East Hill seems to have changed, or perhaps just reignited. Neighbours have made dinner plans, playdates have been arranged, strangers who live on the same street have become friends. Somehow this short musical event has helped transform a neighbourhood into a community.

The sun slowly begins to slip behind the horizon and the music begins to fade.

As the last instruments are packed away, and echoes of almost perfect harmonies are still vibrating in every brick of every house, one thing is certain.

There is no more chill in the air of East Hill tonight.

BELLEVILLE, Ont. (09/29/18) Ð

Bubbles and music filled the air on William Street during last weekend’s Porchfest. Photo by Sasha Sefter


Dave Bush and the River Velley Riders delight audiences during a performance. Photo by Sasha Sefter


A train of youngsters are pulled through the neighbourhood of East Hill in Belleville during Porchfest last Saturday. Many homes in the area had musicians performing during the afternoon event. Photo by Sasha Sefter


A small crowd applauds as The Murata Trio wraps up their final performanceon Ann Street during Porchfest. Photo by Sasha Sefter


The long road to the Hercules pull

8 Wing Community Fair

Members of the 426 Squadron pull a Lockheed C-130 Hercules during a Herc Pull competition at the 8 Wing Community Fair at the Canadian Forces base in Trenton Saturday. The community fair was hosted for family members of soldiers on base and was open to the public. Photo by Andrej Ivanov

By Andrej Ivanov

Driving into Trenton, I thought to myself: “I have no idea where 1 Hangar is.” My GPS was of absolutely no use either, as apparently, 1 Hangar is not a physical address. So down Old Highway 2 I drove, into Canadian Forces Base Trenton, in search of the community fair hosted by the troops.

“Where the heck is this place,” I thought aloud.

A sharp right onto RCAF Road and I pulled over to check the address for the umpteenth time, and to see if maybe Google Maps had decided to cut me some slack. Naturally, it hadn’t.

A quick U-turn and I ended up in the parking lot of a medical centre, hoping to catch the sight of another human being and ask them for directions. No dice. They were closed.

Back on the road, I ended up somewhere on the base, near barracks, where I saw my first human. I quickly pulled over and got directions from a kind woman who pointed out that I had taken the right path by turning onto RCAF Road.

As I turned around, I quickly realized the path I took to get in didn’t have an exit. “You’ve got to be kidding me…” I found myself driving around from end to end, and finally managed to exit after 10 minutes and the help of another kind soul.

Up RCAF Road, right on Westin Road and down a gravel path, I found myself standing in front of what I had spent the last hour or so looking for: a huge Hercules hangar and the fair.

As I walked into the hangar, I found about a half a dozen tables, about 50-80 people, mostly soldiers and their families, and the main event: The Hercules pull.

The Hercules pull was an interesting sight, as it involved groups of up to 20 trying to pull a 34,400-kilogram airplane down the runway. Participants included cadets, family members, and, of course, soldiers.

The Herc pull was a true test of bodily strength for those involved. It became abundantly clear that the hardest part was getting the enormous plane out of inertia.

To do this, the groups would have to pull a giant rope, facing the plane and putting their full body weight into it. The weight of the plane was clear as day in the strained faces of every single one of the 20 or so team members.

After the plane got moving fast enough, the entire team would then face away from the vehicle and keep going to the finish line. The fastest team wins the race.

The big winners were 426 Squadron, with a whopping 21 seconds and 18/100th of a second to the finish line. The team’s time was only two seconds shy of the base record.

8 Wing Community Fair

Members of the 426 Squadron warm up as they prepare to pull a Lockheed C-130 Hercules during a Herc Pull competition at the 8 Wing Community Fair at the Canadian Forces base in Trenton. Photo by Andrej Ivanov


Fall activities around Quinte


Members of the Hastings-Prince Edward Regiment showcase breaching techniques to a crowd during the Flavours of Fall Festival in Belleville. Photo by Sasha Sefter


Members of the Pegasus Cheer Athletics Program perform during the festival last Saturday. Photos by Sasha Sefter


Taylor Horborough, seven, pats Johnny the pony on the nose during the Flavours of Fall Festival. Photo by Sasha Sefter

Mohawk Fair

Cody Lobb at the first meet of the demolition derby at the annual Mohawk Fair in Tyendinaga. The weekend-long fair included a variety of events, including midway rides, art shows and the demolition derby. Photo by Andrej Ivanov

About loyalistpjblog

coordinator Loyalist College Photojournalism Program
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