They have names like “Ginger Snap”, “Madam Boob-A-Licious”, “Hot Spice”, and, of course, “Old Spice”.
They are the men of the Cape Breton Search And Rescue Association and they have their wigs, their high heels, and best party frocks all ready for their Third Annual Male Comedy Fashion on Saturday, September 24, at the Ukranian Hall, West Street, in Whitney Pier.
“It’s a hoot, lot’s of fun, getting bigger every year,” says Paul Vienneau, Vice-President of CBSAR. “I have a big white beard and last year I was Miss Congeniality. I went from working the drag races at the airport in the afternoon to dressing in drag in the evening.”
The fashion show, for those 19 years and older, starts at 7 pm, with CAPE-94‘s weekday morning man, Bill Bradley, as host (followed by a dance at 9 pm with DJ Robin Krszwda). The Holy Ghost Men’s Club donate the use of the hall for the event and Boardwalk Hair Design do their best to make the various contestants look fab.
The audience can vote for their favorite “showgirl” as they strut their stuff in evening gown, bathing suit, and boudoir apparel.
The audience is allowed to vote multiple times as long as they pony up the price per vote and Vienneau says last year the winner brought in $75 at 25 cents per vote (and apparently acquired the new nickname of “Queenie”).
This year, the price per vote has been raised to a loonie.
“Search and Rescue doesn’t receive a lot of funding,” Vienneau says.
The Emergency Management Office of Nova Scotia grants $3000 to CBSAR every year and the province, in just the last couple of years, pays for their volunteer liability insurance (as they do for the 24 search and rescue teams across the province). The Cape Breton Regional Municipality contributes $8000 annually.
“Everything else we have to raise ourselves,” Vienneau says, and that has to pay for and maintain equipment like portable command posts, equipment trailers, and all terrain vehicles capable of travelling on land and water.
The CBSAR has 110 members, male and female, from ages 16 to 81 and from every corner of the CBRM.
“Last year, we had only six call outs,” Vienneau says. “This year, as of July 24, we had 17. We’ve had as high as 60 in one year, and, one day, in a five hour period, we had four call outs: one for a lost individual, one for an evidence search, and two for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia.”
“And we will do almost anything to raise funds,” Vienneau says.
Including wearing maternity bathing suits. And, yes, the audience are permitted to bring their own cameras to document the event for posterity.