Welcome to the Johnny Miles Festival Website!
SYDNEY MINES, N.S.
Ask and you shall receive — that was the case recently for the Johnny Miles Festival Society.
Last month, the society received positive news when Wanda MacKenzie volunteered to be the co-ordinator, helping to save the festival.
“I saw an article in the Cape Breton Post that the Johnny Miles Festival was in need of a new committee member and I decided to join since I live here, and I want to see the festival survive,” said MacKenzie.
The Sydney Mines festival usually takes place over a four-day period, however this year’s event will take place over two days, Aug. 4-5.
“We’ve downsized the festival a little bit for this year only because of the late start and because we’re a little bit short,” said MacKenzie. “We’re making it a weekend event, but we’re hoping to attract all ages.”
MacKenzie served as a member of the Northside Business Association for seven years and is the former owner of Sears in North Sydney. She was also a committee member with the local chapter of MADD Canada in Cape Breton.
The 2018 edition of the festival will feature three events including the 30th annual Johnny Miles Memorial 5K Road Race, a parade and seniors’ luncheon.
“We’ve been brainstorming and doing a lot of work behind the scenes trying to raise funds — we don’t know where we’re at currently with funds,” said Eugene Ramsey, committee chair, noting money is why the festival will only feature three events.
“It’s a disappointment to us that we can’t do the festival that we were doing, but there have been so many changes and so many blocks put in our way, we didn’t have a choice.”
Ramsey doesn’t believe the festival will be able to get funding from the Cape Breton Regional Municipality because of the late decision to have this year’s event.
“The money is just not there and if it’s not there, there’s nothing we can do about it,” said Ramsey. “We’ve never been in the red (budget wise) when we finish a festival and we don’t want to start that this year.”
Each year, the festival remembers Johnny Miles, a two-time winner of the Boston Marathon — he won in 1926 and again in 1929.
As part of the changes this year, there will be no closing concert or fireworks to conclude the festival.
“Everyone looks forward to the fireworks and that’s the closing of the festival and we’ve always had a great response from the public — we’re sad we can’t do it,” said Ramsey, noting the closing events usually cost around $10,000, with $5,000 of that going towards fireworks.
The Johnny Miles Road Race will take place on Aug. 4, beginning at 10 a.m. More information about the road race will be released at a further date.
The festival society is still accepting donations for the upcoming festival. To donate, contact Serella Bagnell at 902-539-6909 or Ramsey at 902-736-8739.
2018 Johnny Miles Festival:
• When: Aug. 4-5
• Where: Sydney Mines
• Events: Johnny Miles Memorial 5K Road Race, parade and seniors’ luncheon
• For more information visit www.johnnymilesfestival.com