GARNISH, NL — Over the past 25 years the annual Bakeapple Festival in Garnish has proven to be an outstanding success and no doubt the 2017 edition will continue that tradition.
This year’s Festival which runs from Saturday, Aug.5 to Sunday, Aug. 13, has a full schedule of events slated for the entire family and geared to all ages, from the very young right up to and including the town’s senior citizens.
In addition, this year’s program will take a trip down memory lane to include an evening of entertainment at the town’s Community Centre entitled “Celebrating Our People”. Emphasis will be placed on the rich history and culture of Garnish with the highlight of the evening being the presentation of a play entitled “Stephen Leonard Grandy – Dory Builder”.
Shipbuilding was a major employer in Garnish from the late 1800s right up to the 1940s with dozens of carpenters and laborers being employed. From cutting the timbers to operating the sawmills and then the actual building of the different size banking schooners, the shipbuilders of Garnish earned an enviable reputation.
Stephen Leonard Grandy was born in 1884 at Garnish and at a very young age honed his carpentry skills. While still a young man he moved to Grand Bank to be employed with G. & A. Buffett Ltd, a company selling dories locally and also along the south coast of the island.
It wasn’t long before his quick mind started to study the structure of the different type dories and then he designed a boat which he felt better suited the Newfoundland fishery, weather and ocean conditions.
His entrepreneurship then took over and he struck out on his own along with his three sons — Max, Roy and Leonard — to establish their own workshop building and selling his version of the Grandy Dory. In the 1940s and 1950s the high demand for dories kept the Grandy workshop busy. They built more than 300 of them over the years.
Horatio Cluett is the brainchild in writing and producing the play for this year’s Bakeapple Festival. In addition he is also one of the actors.
In his words, “the play recreates the life journey of Stephen Leonard along the path to becoming a famous dory-builder.” It is fictional but is entirely based on actual historical events both in Garnish and in his later life at Grand Bank.
The 100 people who will be attending the “Stephen Leonard Grandy – Dory Builder” play on Aug. 11will also be treated to a reception that will include lots of Garnish food treats, a display of historic artifacts and a chance to interact with some of the descendants of Stephen Leonard. It will be an opportunity for those present to mix with others and talk about the history and culture of Garnish.
Stephen Leonard Grandy’s dory gained national prominence in 1992 when it was chosen and appeared on one of the Canadian Quarters; a fitting tribute to one of Garnish’s most famous sons.
Allan Stoodley is a long time resident of Grand Bank. He welcomes comments on this or any other article he has written. He can be reached at amstoodley @hotmail .com