Leanne Danielsen didn’t sleep too well Saturday night and her sense of apprehension was all the worse with Sunday morning’s rain. It looked like Save the Bay’s third annual Bay Beach Slam was going to be a washout.
But the event, to be held for a first time on this side of the bay at Goddard Park, was on the schedule and, rain or no rain, it was going to start at noon.
As event manager for the Beach Slam, Danielsen said she not only checked the weather forecasts for signs of improvements but offered a prayer to the universe.
It paid off.
Soon after she arrived at Goddard Park to set up, the sky lightened, the threat of rain dissipated and things started to dry out. Tents went up. Displays were arranged. NeverBored, the stand-up paddleboard and snowboard shop, set up on the beach, as did the Kayak Centre. Kent County YMCA set up displays. Bouncy enclosures where kids could leap about were inflated and Rock Spot Climbing erected a wall that rivaled many of the trees. Then performers started to arrive.
The Damhsa Irish Dance Studio was the first of the groups to perform. Others included the Fitness Studio that gave lessons in Zumba; Project 401, a collective of hip hop artists that offered dance sessions; the Rhythm Room that had people tapping; story time with Ms. Madge Ickle and, to close out the afternoon, Inziragukanya, a Burundian drumming and dancing group.
Performers, as well as exhibitors and groups providing sporting equipment, donated their services. There were a large number of sponsors whose names were listed on Beach Slam T-shirts. All 35 members of the Save the Bay staff were present with a large contingent of volunteers.
The aim of the slam, said Danielsen, is for people to celebrate access to the bay.
“And to learn how much fun it is to be on the bay,” she added.
With activities on the beach, around tents and deeper in the park, Danielsen said it was difficult to know how many people came out for the slam. Her guess was more than 1,000. And she speculated it would have been more, if some people hadn’t been turned off by the wet start to the day.