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George and Geraldine Walker of Sydney Mines are shown on their wedding day. The couple will mark their 60th anniversary in September, however thanks to a contest won by their daughter, they will be celebrating the milestone on Saturday.
©Submitted photo/Joyce Walker-Haley
SYDNEY MINES, N.S. - Joyce Walker-Haley was on Catelli’s website when she came upon a special contest and immediately thought of her parents.
The contest, hosted by the Montreal-based dry pasta company, was known as the Catelli Family Reunion, where participants had a chance to win $10,000 for a special family event.
As part of the contest, Walker-Haley was asked to write a short essay explaining why her family deserved the prize money.
She wrote that her parents, George and Geraldine Walker of Sydney Mines, would be celebrating their 60th anniversary this year.
“It’s like you throw something down on paper and send it off and you never think of it again,” said Walker-Haley when asked about the contest process.
Over the course of the next few weeks, Walker-Haley continued to receive emails updating her on the contest, but she never bothered looking at them in detail until she received an email from the company noting it was urgent.
“When I saw that email with urgent I immediately opened it and I was shocked to read that I had won the contest,” she said.
Walker-Haley was one of three winners of the national contest, hosted by the company for Canada’s 150th anniversary.
“It’s a big moment because not everybody gets to have their 60th anniversary, so it was a great opportunity to get everybody together to have some fun,” said Walker-Haley. “We believe in celebrating the little moments and the big moments.”
Walker-Haley, who now lives in St. Stephen, N.B., said her parents, both in their 80s, didn’t want her to spend the prize money on them, but the decision had already been made.
“My parents were sweet, they didn’t want to accept that kind of money, they thought it could have been used elsewhere,” she said. “It took them a little bit to grasp it.”
Although the Walkers anniversary isn’t officially until Sept. 2, the family will be using the prize money to host a special celebration on Saturday at the Northern Yacht Club in North Sydney.
An open house ceilidh will take place from 2-4 p.m. with light refreshments, followed by a special dinner for family and invited guests only featuring different types of pasta. The dinner, which will involve close to 70 people, will be catered by Chef Todd's Catering and co-hosted by Catelli chef Matt McKenzie.
“In the essay I had explained that in Cape Breton family gatherings and potluck dinners were what made summer great whenever we all got together and that Catelli had been part of our lives for a very long time,” said Walker-Haley.
“Some of the most joyful events in our family didn’t involve high heels and ball gowns, it was more just about a pair of flip-flops and some fiddle music,” she said. “We will be celebrating the same way as usual, nothing fancy — the whole family is excited for this.”
Walker-Haley said members of the community are welcome to attend the afternoon portion of the event, but notes that members of the Catelli crew will be filming the event and presenting it to the family at a later date.
IF YOU GO
George and Geraldine Walker anniversary celebration:
• When: Saturday
• Where: Northern Yacht Club, North Sydney
• Time: 2-4 p.m.
• Open to the general public