There will not be an Island Root Heritage Festival in 2017 because of elections, so the Guy Fawkes commemoration usually overseen by the Island Root Heritage Festival Committee, took place together with a fundraising event to benefit Amy Roberts Primary School.
As the two committees joined forces, they produced an evening of entertainment that kept people out on the New Plymouth basketball court, drinking, eating, socializing and participating in various games until it was time to take the “Guys” to the Point to be burned.
Young and old alike contributed to the making of the main attraction, the ten Guys displayed along the court’s fence. They came in all shapes, small and large, some happy, some serious, some with beards, some in push chairs, but each unique and interesting.
They were easy to identify as they wore an envelope on their sleeves with their name. Astronut, Big John, Guy Unit, Zombie Pilot, Princess, Heritage Guy, Little Suzie, JJ, Fawkxy Guy, all waited patiently to meet their end, but not before having enjoyed a performance with their creator who were invited later in the evening to “dance” with them.
Food was the next main attraction as a display of numerous cakes including guava duff, apple tarts, cupcakes and chocolate cake to mention a few tempted people with a sweet tooth. In the kitchen a group of volunteers were dishing out chicken wings and macaroni and cheese and conch fritters, there was even funnel cake to be added to the list of desserts. No wonder that the line to buy tickets extended from one side of the court to the other.
After the first rush for food was ebbing, the games started. The dance with the guys attracted a circle of spectators, applauding and cheering. People were then invited to buy tickets to place in the envelope on the guys, to give their rating as to which was the best.
More tickets were sold for two cake walks and a third walk for a set of glasses.
In the meantime, kids and teens were offered hay rides around town piled together on the back of an open-bed truck.
It was finally time to announce the best “Guys”. Guy Unit won the first place, followed by Astronut and JJ in third position. Their makers were rewarded with a small check.
A crew of people in werewolf, ghost and orangutan costumes, bounced on the court scaring the little kids before collecting the puppets which were all loaded on the hay truck and taken to be burned under the supervision of the Green Turtle Fire Chief, Mr. Matthew Lowe and other volunteer firemen.
As one, the crowd followed on foot or in golf carts. It was soon over, a strong wind carrying the ashes safely into the sea, a fitting conclusion to a celebrated tradition.