OPINION: The Legacy of Lift Off

Image of Nick Seebruch
By Nick Seebruch
OPINION: The Legacy of Lift Off
Balloons at Kinsmen Cornwall Lift-Off.

It has been nearly five years since the last Lift Off festival in Cornwall. I remember going to many in my younger days and always being impressed with this great event organized for the enjoyment of the people of Cornwall by a dedicated team of volunteers.

For just $20 you got to see world class headlining acts like April Wine, Trooper and Our Lady Peace as well as there being great food, good company and of course a sky full of hot air balloons.

For 20 years, Lift Off was the event of the summer in Cornwall. It left fond and loving memories in the hearts of many and generated tourism and revenue for the City.

Lift Off will always have a warm place in my heart, but I do not however, mourn its loss for the simple reason that in many ways, the spirit, and legacy of Lift Off are still with us.

Like I said earlier, Lift Off was brought to the community by a dedicated team of loving volunteers, those volunteers are still with us, and they are still dedicated to their community. You can find them involved in either organizing, volunteering or promoting the now multitude of summer events that we have in this City every year.

Since Lift Off touched down for the last time, new events have come to Cornwall to take its place.

Before Lift Off left, there was no CAPE, there was no Ribfest, or Food Fest, or Whiskey Show or Beer Bourbon BBQ and Blues.

Each of those four events I just named attract thousands of people to Cornwall every year in their own rights, and thousands more in tourism dollars spent in Cornwall.

The absence of Lift Off has encouraged the ambitious volunteers who love Cornwall to try new things, whether they be fundraisers, or just fun.

I hear Bear Bourbon BBQ and Blues for example attracted more than 2,000 people to Cornwall in one afternoon this year. If food and drink aren’t to your taste, then you can always try your hand at comics and pop-culture in April at CAPE.

There are still great opportunities for music lovers in Cornwall as well. Every week in Lamoureux Park there is Arts in the Park, where local artists can show off their talent.

Earlier this month, to kick off Canada Day weekend, Cornwall Tourism organized the first Cornwall Rocks festival which featured bands from around the region and beyond. There were well recognized acts which included tribute bands for the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

A friend told me that they loved Lift Off and to them, Lift Off meant summer. They remember biking around their neighbourhood and seeing the balloons rise up over the City, with the sound of stock cars roaring in the background. Those of us who were lucky enough to attend Lift Off, will always have those great memories and we will always be lucky for that, but the youth who never really knew Lift Off, will be lucky too. They will be lucky to have a whole summer full of blockbuster events to enjoy, and who knows what new event will appear in the future to try and take the mantle of “the next Lift Off”.

What do you think readers? What are some of your Lift Off memories? Email me a Letter to the Editor at nicholas.seebruch@tc.tc

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