Notes from Stonetown Heritage Festival By – Dan Rankin

Ron and Lisa Wilcox, their daughter Sharla and her friend Leah were one of many out-of-towners who made the trip to St. Marys this past weekend to celebrate the 20th Annual Stonetown Heritage Festival. But the Wilcox’s haven’t been out-of-towners for all that long, and that was made clear from their conversation during the tour around town provided by the Apple Land Country Station train on Saturday.
Pointing out Damen’s Restaurant, Ron said, “Hey, there’s an idea for dinner.”
“That’s where we had our first date,” Lisa tells Sharla.
Ron and Lisa also started their family together in St. Marys, but moved to Parkhill in 2003.
Still, Sharla, 14, has a few vivid memories of her time in St. Marys including their old home on Southvale and the Wellington Street water fountain.
Seeing the town and the Thames on the sunny Saturday got Ron feeling nostalgic. “Think we should move back?” he asked Lisa and Sharla.
“But dad, I’m just starting to make friends where we are now!”
Doug Hunt of Brantford (above right), also known as Doug the Great, gave a stilt-walking and juggling display downtown in St. Marys Saturday morning. He switched things up in the afternoon, teaching kids to walk on stilts. Hunt has set numerous Guinness world records for stilt-walking. In 2002, he set new records for tallest and heaviest stilts mastered when he walked 29 steps using a pair of 50-ft, nine-inch stilts which weighed a combined 123 pounds. He still holds the record for “Heaviest stilts walked with,” however Chinese stilt-walker Saimaiti Yiming walked 10 steps on 53-ft, 10-inch stilts in 2006. From 2008 to 2009, Hunt and 625 students from North Park Collegiate in Brantford also held the world record for most people stilt-walking, when they walked 100 metres using one-foot stilts. That record was topped June 2009 in Montreal by Cirque de Soleil with 737 stilt-walkers reaching 100 metres. The current record for most stilt-walkers was set September 2011 in Sweden, and stands at 959.