Bird Island Puffin Festival underway in Elliston

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Sunday is jiggs dinner day

By Sarah Burton
Special to The Packet
If you’re looking for culture, entertainment and a really good meal, Elliston is place to venture this weekend.

The Bonavista Peninsula community is in the midst of its 17th Season of the Bird Island Puffin Festival, which began on July 13 with a community church service.

Organizer Calvin Haley says the festival continues to draw a crowd. The area has been an increasingly popular spot for tourists since the recent unveiling of the Sealer’s Memorial site and the WWI Replica Trench. At least one of the events on Monday, the Victor Pearce Memorial hike, had 60-70 hikers participate.

The feedback has been more than complimentary, said Hayley.

“There is a shared beauty from being down here that’s unbelievable,” Haley told The Packet Monday. “The feedback from everybody has just been out of this world, and we get a lot of visitors.”

Their festival begins with smaller, more localized events for the first few days, then moves to larger-scale activities from Wednesday through to the weekend.

“On Wednesday we open our door to the world. Everything goes to the municipal park then where all of the infrastructure is — the band stages, multi-purpose facilities, etc.”

The events will include the popular “Peninsula Idol,” a competitive singing competition for teens and young adults, now in its 12th year. Local entertainers will also take to the stage, including the four-piece band Koodos, which is set to perform on Friday night.

Then there’s the meal — a traditional jiggs dinner that’s been in the works for about 10 months.

“The biggest highlight on Saturday in the daytime for us is our jiggs dinner, of course,” said Haley. “The jiggs dinner is done from local vegetables – all local vegetables that have been stored in the root cellars of Elliston. We put them in last September and we’re going to take them out, now months later, to serve up the biggest jigs dinner in Atlantic Canada.”

The jiggs dinner is being organized by a group of about 21 women working in shifts, from Saturday to Sunday, noon to 7 p.m.

The entertainment on Saturday night is also highly anticipated.

David White and Carl Peters, a group known to St. John’s and George Street, will be playing music well into the morning.

“They are a really popular band,” said Haley. “Saturday night is known as party night on the Bonavista Peninsula…thousands of people will be out from 10 a.m. in the night to probably 4 or 5 a.m. in the morning, so it’s a big party night on the peninsula in Elliston.”

For a full list of scheduled events for the Bird Island Puffin Festival, visit

Organizations: David White

Geographic location: Bird Island, Elliston, Atlantic Canada George Street

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