There’s joy in preparing for the May Two-Four weekend. Campers and Campground owners share how being prepared is the best way to enjoy the holiday.
Story by CAMERON KILFOY
As we enter the summer season, there is only one way that certain Newfoundlanders plan to ring it in and that’s camping May two-four weekend. In some households, camping over the long weekend has become an annual tradition. It is one of the ways they stay connected to their roots and pass this celebration on for generations to come.
THE EARLY BIRD
Preparation for this holiday takes some time and one camper says the earlier you get your campground ready the earlier the fun can begin.
“It’s best to go down a few weeks before and check everything out,” says Dwayne Noonan, a regular camper at Marine Park. “I like to go down and open everything up, flush out my lines, and make sure there was no damage done over the winter to the trailer, inside and out, and when everything is set up and in good working order it just means we can get right to it when the long weekend comes.”
Noonan has been camping with his family since he was a young boy. He says some of his best memories were made at the trailer and he wanted his children to have a similar experience while growing up.
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“For them, it’s been better than we could’ve imagined,” says Noonan. “It’s mostly because there are so many kids around their age, they’ve made new friends over the past few summers and they get super excited to see them, at this point, we are just as excited for them to go up and make memories.” Noonan goes on to say how this holiday is just as important for the adults as it is for the kids.
Getting the chance to celebrate with your friends and family in a stress-free environment, gives people a form of an escape. Camping to Noonan is something that goes beyond the surface and has a truly deeper meaning to him. “It is some of the best family time that we get,” says Noonan.
“We have campfires every night, we roast marshmallows and hot dogs, and those are some of the good memories I have growing up camping, and I think my kids are creating the same kind of memories and I just hope it will stick with them and make them want to continue with this tradition down the road.”
Preparation begins even earlier for campground owners. Dewayne Fry is the owner and operator of Blue Fin Campground in Holyrood. Fry begins his preparation for the long weekend in January.“May two-four is our busiest weekend, seeing that it is the start of summer,” says Fry. “We start our reservations right after Christmas and when we get everyone booked in we start planning our summer events. For the long weekend, we start with a bonfire to kick off the celebration.”
In the spring, Fry goes around the campground to check for damage and to make sure everything will be in running order for the opening weekend. He starts by doing any maintenance that needs to be done, turning the water back on, and putting equipment out into the park that was in storage. Fry has been camping his whole life, he started as a teenager with his grandparents. He believes having the outdoor experience is what the long weekend is all about.
“The best way to describe it is, it’s like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders,” says Fry.
“The outdoors just brings this whole new enthusiasm and almost gives people a renewal after a long hard winter.” Even with the recent outbreaks of the COVID-19 pandemic, Fry believes it will give people more reason to want to get out and fully embrace this holiday for what it is.
“It’s been a tough year for everybody and it’s been a reminder of how tough life is, the people I have been talking to are excited to be able to push that to the side and get out into freedom and fresh air,” says Fry.
He goes on to say how May two-four is his favourite time of year at the park and being prepared for the long weekend is the second most important thing you could do to ensure a stress-free time. He adds the most important thing is making lifelong memories.
Fry is excited to re-open the campground and have everyone back in the park, he considers them his extended family. He knows that our Newfoundland weather is iffy but hopes no matter what the weather brings that people come prepared to celebrate the holiday because being together is what matters.
“Regardless, go camping,” says Fry. “The benefits of camping on the long weekend, the joy it brings, will outweigh whatever the weather will hold.”