Trout Festival was a little bit like walking through a daydream.
For a weekend, Main Street became a thing of nostalgia, with flower baskets, flags and colourful bunting sprucing the place up, and a midway, vendors and performers bringing cheer to anyone who made their way uptown.
Smiles abounded, and hugs and handshakes followed as people flooded into town to visit friends and family and to take in tradition.
It’s pretty incredible a group of volunteers pulls off an event of this scale every year.
For some, though, the nostalgia brings back memories of Trout Festivals past, and plenty of those memories were shared this weekend - memories of Main Street lined end-to-end with vendors, and the Whitney Forum being packed end-to-end for socials for three consecutive nights during the festival.
Events like these are destined to change as life goes on and populations change and generations leave for other parts of the country.
Still, Trout Festival is seemingly an enormous draw for people who grew up here and left, but return annually for the event.
Former Flin Flonners were everywhere you looked last weekend, and they had a blast.
With the hype that Trout Festival creates for out-of-towners, and with the amount of them that are drawn to the area for the weekend, they really helped bring the party.
But then this thing happened – Flin Flon closed down on Monday.
It seems odd that only a small percentage of local businesses were open the whole weekend.
Granted, Trout Festival falls on Canada Day weekend, and we all need a holiday. But perhaps a weekend where the city has a pretty significant influx of people in the area isn’t the time to take it.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday saw most businesses open, even those that are normally closed on Sundays. But on Monday, the observed Canada Day holiday, all but a few kept their doors closed, leaving visitors without many options on the day before they skipped town.
Being stuck in a place with few services ahead of a five or eight hour or longer road trip is not a fun feeling. It’s an inconvenience and it leaves a bitter taste in visitors’ mouths.
Looking at the Trout Festival of today, it’s difficult but beautiful to imagine a time where it was a jam-packed, all-day every day event, where Main Street was full and people jammed like sardines into the Whitney Forum to meet their friends at the start of the summer.
Flin Flon may never see those days again, see the festival full to that same capacity. But there’s little doubt the festival will remain for those who are here and those who return for the weekend year after year.
Keeping the positive, forward momentum going and perhaps keeping the city open for an extra day during the festival could go a long way toward putting a smile on visitor’s faces.