In a summer of cancellations, a downriver tradition won't be stopped by the pandemic. Instead, it’s going virtual.
"We didn't want to be the next organization to say 'No,'" said Marianne Gignac, committee member for Corunna's Captain Kidd Days, now in its 35th year.
"We really felt like, there must be a way. We wanted to do the best we could with what we had to work with."
The event typically draws thousands to the Corunna Athletic Park every Civic Holiday weekend for a huge kids' zone, contests, beach volleyball, beer tents, concerts and more.
"We started asking, 'What can we do online?'" said Gignac, pointing to both the Corunna Ambassador and Best Dressed Pirate contests, which will invite kids to submit photos and videos online, rather than on stage.
They'll be judged by local 'celebrities' — some of whom may not otherwise be able to attend: Corunna native and Canadian kettlebell champion Lisa Pitel-Killah, former Disney-on-Ice director and Petrolia native Adam Loosely, and longtime local skate coach Carol MacPherson.
Residents are invited to submit short videos showing why they love the event and community, to be live-streamed on Saturday, Aug. 1, along with a performance by headline act The Downriver Band.
"We're also asking people who log in, to consider donating, sort of like a Go Fund Me page," said Gignac. "If they would have come to the beer tent and spent $15 or $20, that's something they could do instead."
The Bad Dog Bar and Grill is offering incentives for donations over $20, she added.
Money from the annual Captain Kidd Days goes to support groups like Corunna Minor Baseball and Mooretown Minor Hockey.
A town-wide food and bottle drive is also planned to help support the Corunna Food Bank,
Details can be found on the Captain Kidd Days Facebook page.
"It's not going to be what it normally is, but hopefully we can raise some money," said Gignac.
"It's an effort — it keeps the tradition going, and gives us all something to do during this challenging time."