November 14, 2018

BY ETHAN KOMPF

ekswan4 Stratford welcomed spring 10 days ago during its annual Swan Weekend, which took place on April 2 and 3. Every year Stratford holds an event which includes street performers, carriage rides, contests and musicians and culminates in a parade which leads the swans a block from where they’re kept for the winter to the Avon River, where they live until the next winter.

The procession was led by the Stratford Police Pipes and Drums, followed by a city worker holding a swan and the rest of the swans, who waddled along on foot. The procession wove down Lakeside Drive, through a crowd of thousands, all who showed up despite large amounts of snow and unseasonably cold weather.

The flock slowly reached the banks of the Avon and, one-by-one, entered the chilly water, which still had thin layers of ice floating on it. There they rejoined the ducks and geese who had already returned.

The two-day event attracts people from many different places, not just Stratford.

“I’m from Kitchener,” said Janine Prew, a worker at Stratford General Hospital. “It’s our first time (seeing the swans), but we wanted to come because it’s a big thing.”

Many newcomers did not realize how busy the event would be and had trouble seeing.

“We came an hour early to get the perfect spot,” said Matt Hamming, another spectator. “But then everyone swarmed around us and we were pushed to the back.”

The swans left their pens around 2 p.m. on Sunday and reached the water about 20 minutes later.

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