From: Jennifer Hanson, thenorthbaybay.ca staff
Despite its recent success, the Summer in the Park Committee announced today that the festival would be trying something new this year with the inclusion of 600 or more domestic rats.
Larger than mice but smaller than cows, rats are furry rodents with long tails and an entire zodiac symbol.
“I know North Bay isn’t too familiar with them” explained Vic Tikus, a member of the Committee. “But they’re about to be!”
“….in a good way,” Vic added, quickly.
Back in January the Committee conducted a public forum to ask North Bayites what they wanted to see most at Summer in the Park.
“We didn’t know what to expect” said Vic. “But we were surprised.”
The top results were:
- Local musicians and artists
- An airshow
- Mad Max style death races
- A petting zoo
Tikus said he was pleased with the suggestions but was unsure whether Summer in the Park could deliver; noting that the lumberjacks might be cost prohibitive and the petting zoo too dangerous.
“Rats” Vic said, “are going to be the symbol of Summer in the Park, and in a way the symbol of North Bay.”
What to Expect
Festival goers are set to be exposed to hundreds of rats in a dozen differents way. Not only will they run free and wild throughout the fairgrounds, but will also be given as prizes at the Mid-Way, will share the stage with artists like The Headstones and Amanda Marshall, and “might even have their very own airshow” says Tikus .
“But that all depends on how many members of the Aircraft Club have had shots.”
A recent ban on food vendors within the proximity of North Bay festivals has raised the ire of some residents, but the Committee has decided to stand with the embargo. In a statement Wednesday, the Committee wrote: “We understand that some are angry that their favourite hotdog or hamburger vendor might not be at the fair. But we can assure residents that the food supplied will be top notch. Not only have we brought in some five hundred pounds in rats, but we have been working with the food vendors to come up with a special new treat just for festival-goers – the mystery burger! It’s spicy, it’s tangy, and it’s 100% organic!”
Prudent in the Park
But, Vic Tikus warns, with the festival failing to be given any funding this year, Summer in the Park needs to a bit more frugal.
“We got passed over by Celebrate Ontario” Vic said, voice rising. “But seven grants went to those low-down, good-for-nothing Sudburians! Seven!”
“It just makes ME SO ANGRY!”
After some calming breaths, Vic explained that this is why the festival needed to look for a new direction, and that new direction was rats.
“We just found a whole bunch of them and thought – why not?”
Summer in the Park will open with Marianas Trench on the Friday and see Amanda Marshall and The Headstones perform over the weekend-long festival, with trucks of fresh rats arriving daily to keep the rodent supply fresh and energetic.