Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Unlikely Spat Pits Craft Fair against Legion over Remembrance Day Service

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Unlikely Spat Pits Craft Fair against Legion over Remembrance Day Service

Article excerpt

Unlikely spat pits craft fair against legion

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SYDNEY, N.S. - An unlikely public spat that seemingly pitted a craft sale against several local legions over the location of a Remembrance Day service, drawing hostility and threats of a boycott, was caused by a simple bureaucratic bungle, the municipality says.

Home Crafters of Cape Breton had booked Sydney's Centre 200 arena next weekend for its annual craft sale, and came under fire when it appeared it had bumped Remembrance Day ceremonies.

"The initial story was along the lines of the services being bumped for the craft fair, and that's not the case," said Christina Lamey, communications adviser to Mayor Cecil Clarke of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

"It brought a lot of negative feelings towards people who do the craft fair. Those people doing that craft fair are the salt of the earth and they've been doing it for 30 years ... and some of the comments directed to them are out of line."

Home Crafters' Audrey Pyke said her 29-year-old group has held its three-day event at Centre 200 for the last decade, and books the dates years in advance.

The legions have held their service at Centre 200 for the last two years without overlap, but this year Remembrance Day falls on the sale's first day, Nov. 11.

Stephen MacLennan, president of the legion in nearby Whitney Pier, said his organization booked Centre 200 for Remembrance Day in an email with Clarke back in March -- but staff with the facility didn't tell him about the conflict with the crafters' show until last month.

MacLennan said the service was moved to the smaller Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion, which holds a much smaller crowd -- a revelation that angered residents and resulted in dozens of emails, calls and Facebook postings criticizing the crafters.

Pyke said that has caused some members to take down their social media sites because of a slew of hostile comments, including some that say they will boycott the sale because of the misperception that the group forced the veterans out of the location.

"They're saying we're disrespectful to veterans, which we are not," she said. …

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