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Plant seeds of peace at Perry's Memorial celebration

John Benson • May 12, 2015 at 6:11 PM

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• WHAT: Planting the Seeds of Peace & Victoria Day

• WHEN: 10 a.m. May 21

• WHERE: Perry’s Memorial, South Bass Island

• COST: Free

• INFO: 419-285-2184

What Elvis Costello asked in “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace Love and Understanding,” Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial attempts to answer at its annual Planting the Seeds of Peace Victoria Day celebration, which this year takes place all day May 21 on South Bass Island.

“It’s a way for the community to get involved with the park,” said Perry’s Victory Memorial Special Events Coordinator Nichole Fifer. “Also, it’s because peace should be a community-orientation and something everybody participates in as a way of life. We want everyone to be involved in it, so we have a number of flower boxes in our lot which is across the from the Dairy Queen. We’ll be planting those with flowers like petunias and geraniums. That’s our peace garden.”

Beginning at 10 a.m. on May 21 at the Put-in-Bay memorial, the community is invited to plant the flowers. Also taking place at the same time will be a children’s activity of building cardboard replicas of Perry’s 17-ship fleet, as well as some outdoor games.

“There’s a community-wide garage sale that happens on the island too,” Fifer said. “It really doesn’t have anything to do with the park, but it just happens among the island community. Just another sort of spring cleaning type of holiday, if you will.”

As for the Victoria Day part of the celebration, Fifer said it’s a national day of planting in Canada. The idea of the holiday being noted in America is more of a token of the peace between the United States, Canada and Great Britain.

“The island people have been celebrating Victoria Day for a while, and we started celebrating it as a day of peace because it is an American-Canadian holiday,” Fifer said. “It’s like a first day of spring sort of thing throughout Canada.”

When it comes to popular events, Fifer admits this doesn’t necessary draw in the crowds. Last year’s affair brought out about 50 people, who were given free ice cream for helping to plant flowers. She promises the same tasty treats will be provided to the green thumb volunteers. Fifer also hopes all those who take part in Planting the Seeds of Peace and Victoria Day walk away with a greater sense of peace.

“The message here is we’re open and starting our season,” Fifer said. “So we’re going to plant the seeds to grow the season. The other aspect of it is the peace garden itself is to remember there are two parts for our purpose here at Perry’s Victory. We’re talking about the war and Perry’s victory in that war, but we’re also a peace memorial. So the planting of the seeds is a metaphor of the friendship between the nations.”

The Planting the Seeds of Peace and Victoria Day celebration begins at 10 a.m. May 21 at South Bass Island’s Perry’s Memorial. For more information, call 419-285-2184.

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