THUNDER BAY - After four days of non-stop entertainment, stunts, and high-flying pyrotechnics, the Karnival on the Kam is being called a huge success.
Huge crowds took in the beautiful warm weather on Sunday for the final day of the summer carnival at Fort William Historical Park.
“It’s been so fantastic,” said Debbie McRae, marketing manager with Fort William Historical Park. “The response from Thunder Bay has been overwhelming. We are so pleased with the event.”
McRae did not have any final attendance numbers, but she said the turnout over the four days was unprecedented. But of course, the busiest night was the largest fireworks display in Canada on Friday evening.
“It was the most beautiful show narrated and choreographed to music about the story of Fort William and all the wonderful cultures that came together,” McRae said. “And Thunder Bay’s response to was beautiful. The emotion that was displayed by the public, I mean people had tears in their eyes. It was a beautiful night.”
But there was more to Karnival on the Kam than the biggest fireworks show in Canadian history, a lot more. The four days included acrobats, magicians, a big top circus, timber sports competition, and high flying stunts, which was seven-year-old Charlie Makrides’ favourite.
“I want to watch people get launched out of a canon,” Charlie said.
Charlie also had a second favourite, the aquatic stunts during the Water Sports Thrill Show courtesy of the team at Summer Water Sports, which drew huge crowds along the Kaministiquia River.
“The guy that was on the board that shoots water out of it,” he said of his favourite part of the carnival.
Landen Letwin, a barefoot water skier with Summer Water Sports and originally from Thunder Bay, said he was thrilled to be able to finally perform in front of a hometown crowd.
“It’s something I always wanted to do ever since I started show skiing,” Letwin said. “We always wanted to get a show here. It’s been pretty amazing.”
“The audience is phenomenal,” he continued. “When we get out on the water, they are always smiling and waving. Thunder Bay really brought a really cool atmosphere. We really had a lot of fun with it.”
But the water stunts were not left only to the professionals, as fly boarding lessons were being offered throughout the weekend.
Kimberly Nelson decided strap on a couple of water jets to her feet and give it a try for the first time.
“It was absolutely amazing and so much fun,” she said. “Not so much the crashes. That hurt a little. But once you get up in the air, it is so cool.”
Getting up and out of the water was a challenge but once she was up and in the air, it didn’t necessarily get any easier, at least not at first.
“Sometimes I had an easy time, other times I had a really hard time,” she said. “You have to turn your body and follow the jet ski and I kept forgetting. You can kind of get lost being up in the air like that.”
McRae said he is very excited the Karnival on the Kam was so well received and she said the park was happy to share in celebrations that are taking place across the country this summer.
“This is a special event celebrating Canada and Ontario’s 150th anniversary,” McRae said. “We are so proud to do this for Thunder Bay.”