Explore Oak Island Days Agenda
June 19 – 21/09
– June 18 Thursday at 6 PM. Special “members only” tour of Oak Island.
– June 19 Friday. Enjoy a guided walking tour of Oak Island and learn about it’s 214 year old history. The tour starts at 6PM and lasts about 2 hours, be sure to register in advance by calling 902-275-3718 or e-mail the Society at firstname.lastname@example.org Cost is $5, children 6 and under free.
– June 20 Saturday. The doors to Oak Island display, artifacts, movies, souvenirs and more open up at 10AM. Come and learn about the mystery at the Oak Island Resort in Western Shore. Oak Island art exhibit and sale all day.
– All day long, the Kids Zone.
– First walking tour of the day is at 10 AM. Details same as above.
– 12:30 Our first guest speaker of the day is Mr. Graham Harris.
– 2:30 Our second guest speakers of the day are three Students from McGill University’s engineering department.
– Second walking tour starts at 4PM. Details same as above.
– 7:30 Commotion by the Ocean a debate, buffet style dinner, art show.
– June 21 Sunday. The doors to Oak Island display, artifacts, movies and more open up at 10AM. Come and learn about the mystery at the Oak Island Resort in Western Shore. Art exhibit and sale all day.
– All day long, the Kids Zone.
– First walking tour of the day starts at 10AM. and lasts about 2 hours, be sure to register in advance by calling 902-275-3718 or e-mail the Society at email@example.com Cost is $5, children 6 and under free.
– 12:30 Our first guest speaker of the day is Mr. Steven Sora.
– 2:30 Our second guest speaker of the day is……. TBA
– Second walking tour starts at 4PM. Details same as above.
Official Explore Oak Island Days events end after this tour, we hope you enjoyed yourself and hope to see you again next year.
Explore Oak Island Days Annual event report 2008
By: Danny Hennigar
Explore Oak Island Days was held June 20 – 22, a departure from previous years when the second weekend of August had been our target date. Our departure from the established, previous date was subject to some debate but in the end, we are happy with the move.
This year also marked our third move in six years from the Memorial Hall in 2002, to the Western Shore and Area Improvement Association Building the past four years, to the Oak Island Resort where we hope we can stay for a while and establish some roots.
This year, from the top, we must thank Oak Island Tours Incorporated for their generosity in allowing us access to their lands. We asked for a longer term than previous years as a member of the executive offered that it would be nice if we could conduct school tours of the island this year, so a plan was developed, schools were contacted and we managed to host five school groups over the two and a half weeks leading up to EOID. They ranged from grade two classes all the way up to a day services school for troubled youths in their early teens. Every tour was a lot of fun and we even led one tour dressed as pirates at the request of the school and to the delight of the children.
I could go on and on about how much fun it was for Yvonne and I personally, how educational and successful it was, and fulfilling, but I think it can be summed up by one comment from a little girl from a local school who said, “this is the best school trip I have ever been on.”
Regular tours also took a deviation from the past as we divided each day into two tours instead of one as in previous years. It worked out very well and may become the standard we work with from now on. The benefits included less people on each tour so it was not so crowded and it was easier for everyone to hear what the tour guide was saying. The latter being a complaint we received and acted upon from last year.
EOID was not without some glitches as we were expecting to showcase a Mi’Kmaq sweet grass ceremony with the Friday evening tour and had to cancel it. Our “professional” pirates from Loyalist Arms and Repair also did not make it as they too suffered an unfortunate personal emergency.
Lastly, the “members only” tour was a roaring success, and we saw our numbers swell from last year low of 6 people to over 20 participants. It was a unique and spirited group and we walked our legs off looking at all the sights then retreated to the Black Pearl Bar and Grill for drinks and eats. A special thank you to Center Road Ventures LLC for their kind permission to access lot 25, site of the Samuel Ball foundation.
In the weeks leading up to EOID and the event itself, we hosted in excess of 800 visitors that included the school tours, members only tour, regular tours, and special visitors.
Last year, at the Western Shore and Area Improvement Association building, we did not set out every display we had and it was a large hall. This year, even though the room looked smaller, we had lots of room and luckily we brought along pretty much every thing we have to display and filled the Mahone Room at the Oak Island Resort with room to spare. This is a good place to thank the management and staff of the Oak Island Resort for their hard work, excellent attention to detail and special assistance.
On Saturday and Sunday combined, we hosted in excess of 147 visitors including members of the OITS who accessed the hall for free along with children six and under. Overall, our numbers were up over last year and we hosted in excess of 600 combined visitors including members and special guests. Each year, we have seen gains in our attendance numbers.
Our large free standing display greeting visitors to the hall, exhibited information about the formation and work of the Oak Island Tourism Society. It garnered 8 new members including one renewal and our numbers now stand at 133, and growing. We stand to exceed last year’s numbers before too much longer.
Our four speakers had near capacity crowds for each presentation. By any measure, they were well received and their presentations were professional, entertaining and very informative. As many of the speakers had their own books to sell, many were able to move a quantity of their work thus lessening the impact on the sizeable amount of money each spent from their own pockets to travel to the event. For the first time, in association with The Oak Island Resort, we were able to provide free rooms on Saturday evening for our guest speakers. This a perk we are very proud to be able to offer.
A huge thank you to Les MacPhie, Graham Harris, William (Bill) Parkin and Jo Atherton for their excellent, well prepared and thought provoking presentations. Now that this EOID is “in the can” next year’s event will be easier to manage and we have learned from our mistakes..
Special Visitors and anecdotes:
Long time OITS supporter, researcher, guest speaker and author Graham Harris has a new release to add to the collection of his Oak Island works, this one is entitled The Oak Island Treasure: The Prospects for Recovery. I highly recommend this book for your Oak Island library.
Oak Island Researcher, OITS member and author Petter Amundsen from Oslo Norway gave us a manuscript of his anticipated English version of his book entitled “Oak Island and the Treasure Map in Shakespeare” to give away as a prize at the dinner held on Saturday evening. Although it did not go to a known Oak Island fan, perhaps the book will garner us a new active contact in Oklahoma where it now resides.
Our local Member of the Legislative Assembly, and Minister for the Department of Community Services, the Honourable Judy Streatch, visited our event and had some kind comments to offer us along with a personal donation. This past year, she has been able to offer us some provincial government assistance with signs and some electronic equipment we have long wanted.
The family of a real avid Oak Island fan and researcher Henry Ford traveled from their home in Ohio to visit the island he longed to explore. A frequent visitor to the area, Mr. Ford made contact with as many people as possible to learn what he could of the island and it’s mystery. On his way home last year, he suffered a severe heart attack traveling through Moncton New Brunswick and passed away. His family (wife, daughter and Son) had a quiet, personal moment on the island to honour his memory and there was not a dry eye to be found, very touching.
A young couple from Reykajavik Iceland were at the Oak Island Resort on their Honeymoon. They discovered the story of Oak Island while here and even though they did not have a car (took a taxi from the airport) we were able to pack them in our car and give them a chance to see this world famous island.
Saturday evening dinner and entertainment:
Jamie Junger is no stranger to entertaining large groups and this year, he had a small crew of rowdy pirates to contend with who even took to the stage to help him sing and perform a song or two. As may be expected from the Oak Island Resort, the food was superb and plentiful and the ambiance was what one may expect with Oak Island over your shoulder shrouded in the late evening fog that rolled in from the Atlantic Ocean. It is interesting to note, this is the sixth year we have offered EOID and we have had great weather for each one.
Media Coverage and support:
We received some really good press coverage this year from local newspapers such as Lighthouse Publishing’s Progress Enterprise and our provincial newspaper the Chronicle Herald. A full page spread in Lighthouse Publishing’s Progress Enterprise and Bridgewater Bulletin papers complete with colour photographs, showcased our event in a edition that was published just two weeks after EOID.
An article in the Truro Daily News, weeks before EOID, and a full page story about our event in the Chronicle Herald, plus advertising we bought, garnered us the attendance we sought along with increased public awareness.
Seniors Advocate Magazine published a five part series in the months and weeks leading up to EOID and Lighthouse Publishing had two articles in it preceding EOID.
We also received excellent guidance and support from tourism partners Bluenose Coast who assisted us with the well received geo cache event that coincided with EOID and event organization. Thank you also to Atlantic Geo Cache Association for their assistance and support. I also want to thank OITS member Brian Shaw, avid geo cacher Jason Hubbard and Steven Workman of Ross farm Museum for their genuinely pleasant and valuable assistance.
It is not possible to account for the country or province and state of every participant, but throughout the weekend, people from all corners of North America and beyond were identified. We know of people attending from as far away as, British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, PEI and Newfoundland, not to mention of course, visitors from all over Nova Scotia, one end to the other.
Our American friends came from Maine, Massachusetts, Tennessee, New Hampshire, Florida, New York, New Mexico, California, Michigan and Oklahoma.
This year, I also saw a generous representation of local people who came out to see Oak Island on a tour, hear the speakers and enjoy the displays.
Other countries were represented by visitors from England, Scotland and Iceland. Some were on vacation, some came specifically for the event.
Statistics captured in our first ever exit surveys/questionnaire have been tabulated and have given us some good feedback from the many participants. While there is nothing the Oak Island Tourism Society can do about the Mosquitoes on Oak Island, we certainly can act on a few of the suggestions and comments given.
Maybe I am naive, or perhaps I have selective hearing, but we did not receive one single complaint (other than Mosquitoes) from any of the 800 guests we hosted during the month long event. We did get some constructive criticism that we will consider and try to act upon.
It would be remiss once again not to recognize the selfless nature of the various partners of Oak Island Tours Incorporated for their permission to use their land and other favours once again for Explore Oak Island Days. Collectively, lets all hope their treasure hunt is safe, remarkable and above all else, profitable.
I have been in contact with Dan and Jane Blankenship, and they informed that there were no issues on the part of Oak Island Tours Incorporated with our use of their land. I say this is a glowing accolade to the hard work put forward by all of you who made this event happen and work so well. This year we were blessed by some truly wonderful new volunteers who gave up a whole weekend to assist in making this one of the most trouble free, enjoyable and care free EOIDs to date.
For those of you who could not attend EOID this year, lets hope good fortune shines upon you so you can attend next year. We have received many positive e-mails and phone calls and we thank you for your continued support. A special hello and thank you to Jo Atherton of www.oakislandtreasure.co.uk who celebrated her sixth year as owner/administrator of the world’s premier Oak Island web site. Jo’s continued support on her web site, personal visits and friendly demeanor is always a pleasure.
As our first chairman and OITS founder, the late John Chattaway was fond of saying, “many hands make light work.”
Another day, another school tour, this time kids from the other side of Nova Scotia in the Annapolis Valley had the pleasure of touring Oak Island. They are a grade 5 class from Dwight Ross Elementary School and another fine bunch of children. Starting tomorrow, and for the next three days, we have three more groups to tour around and I won’t send you a photo of each, it may clog up you e-mail box. Monday, the school tours end for the year.
Some bad news to report, none of the Michigan Group partners of Oak Island Tours Incorporated will be able to attend Explore Oak Island Days, but they have graciously held their reservations at the Oak Island Resort for us to find new owners for. So if anyone wants to stay the Resort and found out there is no room available, let me know as soon as possible as those rooms will be let go in the next few days if no member speaks up for them. Thank to OITS member Shari for letting us know about this.
One of our participants, Loyalist Arms and Repair who will be in our display room during EOID, tell me they will have a selection of straw tri – corn hats for sale at really good prices. How good you ask? Really good, but I cannot remember for the life of just how good it is. Children’s sizes are even cheaper. They are a great item to top off your pirate costume for Saturday night and apparently, they are period correct also. Special table reservations have been made for pirates only, so sit with yer crew, arrrrrrrrr.
As of today, our membership role has swelled to 112 persons from all over North America and Europe. I expect more as the days wear on toward the big event.
Let the treasure hunt begin – again
The Lunenburg Progress Enterprise, March 18, 2008
WESTERN SHORE – Digging has resumed on famed Oak Island for the first time in 17 years.
Dan Blankenship, who shares ownership of the island, confirmed that drilling had resumed for a short time recently.
“We’ve already done some exploratory drilling,” he said. “We began sometime in February on a new site.”
This is also the first drilling project with his new partners, Marty Lagina, Craig Tester, Rick Lagina and Alan Kostrzewa, oil barons also known as The Michigan Group. They currently own about 78 per cent of the island.
For the time being Mr. Blankenship said he plans on playing his cards close when it comes to any new work.
“Whatever results we have we’re going to keep to ourselves for now,” he said. “We’re going to wait until we’ve got a bird in the hand [before we make any announcements].”
There are plans for drilling to resume this summer, but Mr. Blankenship couldn’t say exactly when that would be.
An on-line forum out of the United Kingdom dedicated to the Oak Island treasure hunt (http://www.oakislandtreasure.co.uk) claiming to have inside information suggests the “new drilling efforts are concentrated further north than the original Money Pit as three holes have been dug – one to 160 feet and two more to a huge depth of 300 feet.”
Mr. Blankenship, a native of Delaware, Ohio, began his hunt for the Oak Island treasure in 1965. In the past four decades he has found artifacts and groundwork he believes are key to unlocking the island’s secrets.
Many rumours abound as to what’s buried on the island, from Captain Kidd’s treasure and Shakespeare’s manuscripts to the Holy Grail itself.
It has been a while since we last “talked” but that does not mean things are not happening in the background as you may expect.
Oak Island Tours Inc. are experiencing some bureaucratic troubles securing their new Treasure Trove Licence that expired this past June. Lets hope their path is cleared soon so the new partnership can exercise their attempt at recovery and solving the mystery of Oak Island.
In September of 2007, a film producer from France, David Galley, was here to do some filming for his newest film about Oak Island and the Knights Templar. David informs me the movie is completed and a copy will soon be in my hands, I will share that with everyone at Explore Oak Island Days next June 19 – 21, 2009. The one thing I won’t be able to share with all of you is the bottle of fine French wine David promises will accompany the CD. In the meantime, here is a short trailer for you to see to whet your appetite. You may recognize one guy in the trailer at the 48 second mark, for those of you who have never met me, that is me. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hdHteurA3A
Speaking of Explore Oak Island Days, we have started the process of planning for our next event with a few e-mails, some advertising and some fabulous ideas that have been brought forth by some of our members. I can’t spill the beans now, but I can assure you, we will have another entertaining and thought provoking festival sure to delight and inform.
Today, I signed on our newest member from Kingston Nova Scotia, we gave him a warm welcome and our membership list now stands at 135, our biggest membership roll ever.
Oak Island Tourism Society
Explore Oak Island Days 2008 is a just pleasant memory, but we are in the planning stages for next year already. With that in mind, we have set the dates for EOID 2009 for June 19, 20 and 21st at the Oak Island Resort. There is no agenda at this time, but we have some great ideas we will be working on over the next number of months.
Since we have some time, I think this is the perfect time for you to let your voices be heard. What would you like to see for EOID 2009? Give us your suggestions, ideas and desires, and we will see if it is feasible, if it is, we’ll try and do it. Write back to me with your ideas, I’ll collect them and we’ll see what we can do.
Attached is a thank you ad we placed in the local newspapers, I included it as many of you will probably never see this paper. I waited until now to share it with you as I wanted to send you the dates for next year, along with the thank you.
I hope your summer is going well.