Crier Mark Molnar wins OGTC Championship

This article appeared in the St. Catherines Standard on August 21, 2014, written by Karena Walter (karena.walter@sunmedia.ca).

The article included a video clip and photograph. Please follow the link to see the entire coverage.

Oyez! Town Crier named best in Ontario
By Karena Walter, The Standard
Thursday, August 21, 2014 8:40:06 EDT PM

As the official Town Crier for St. Catharines — celebrating his 10-year anniversary this month — Molnar has always been loud and proud.

Now, he can bellow he’s the best of his proclamating peers in the province. Molnar’s performance earlier this month at the 2014 Ontario Guild of Town Criers annual provincial championship in Port Perry earned him top marks.

Crier Mark Molnar“What’s not to like about it? You get to yell at people without them yelling back,” he joked.I love doing that stuff. Pretty much any time I put on the uniform, I’m having fun.”

Born in St. Catharines and raised in Pelham, Molnar, 51, was first bitten with the crier bug in the early 1980s. He was in the navy and found himself in the audience of a town crier competition in Halifax. He turned to the person next to him and said, “I could do that.”

The crier on stage heard and invited him up to try delivering an “Oyez!” After Molnar belted one out, the crier agreed, “You could do that.” Twenty years later, he attended a charity walk in Port Dalhousie and noticed the town crier kicking off the event was from out of town. He wrote a letter to city council asking if he could be the city’s official town crier and was appointed after a competition. After five years of working out of pocket, he was awarded a $1,500 annual honorarium for travel and other expenses.

In the beginning, Molnar said, his cries were stiff and formal, but after getting tips from other criers he’s moved outside rigid boundaries and added more humour. Now he cries at anywhere from 12 to 50 events a year, such as at Canada Day celebrations and parades. He also does private events like weddings and grand openings. And while he’s willing to do political events, he has to make it clear in his cry that he is being hired to be there. He once cried at events held in Port Dalhousie for both pro and anti­tower groups. “It’s part of the mandate, I can’t choose sides,” he said. “I can’t get involved in partisan politics.”

Molnar, who studied theatre at Brock University, is also the town crier for the Town of Lincoln and is the president of the Ontario Guild of Town Criers until his two year term is up in January. His wife, Margaret Hughes, is in the spirit and attends competitions wearing the period dress for consorts.

Molnar had to deliver three cries over the Aug. 9 and 10 provincial competition, on the subjects of microbreweries, anything British and farmers, markets or farmers’ markets. Seventeen town criers were judged on the content of their cries, their clarity and projection, how they enter and exit the stage and their general appearance.

Molnar was impressed with his competitors. “A lot of the newer criers coming in are bringing in a lot of skills that, when I started I had to build up,” he said. After 10 years of competing, Molnar took home boasting rights and a large engraved trophy.

As he celebrates a decade as St. Catharines town crier, he wouldn’t be surprised to find himself in the role for the next 10 years, too. “Sure, so long as my voice holds out.”

Mark Molnar’s cry on the theme Anything British, performed at the 2014 Ontario Guild of Town Criers Competition:

Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!

How I love the language of Britain!

In Canada, you put gas in the car, while in Britain you put petrol in your saloon. Here, we can put our boots in the trunk. In Britain,they can put a trunk in the boot. Here, we open the hood to see the engine. In Britain, they open the bonnet — while wearing a hood.

In Britain, if you’re knackered you have a kip, especially if you’ve gotten legless on some plonk. So poetic! Here you get drunk and pass out on cheap wine.

Here, you’re hungry and want some food. In Britain you’re peckish and fancy a nosh.

Canada and England — two countries separated by a common language!

God Save the Queen’s English!

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Planning already underway …

In 2016 Heritage Perth Ontario celebrates its 200th anniversary. Committees have been meeting since 2010 planning for the over 200 events that will mark the bicentennial celebration. One of those committees is already planning to host the Ontario Town Crier Provincial Championship over the Victoria Day weekend, May 20-22, 2016.

Ian DoigWe are a small community and if you don’t plan ahead you quickly discover that the many excellent hotels and B&B’s are fully booked” noted Karen Rennie, the Town’s Heritage Manager. She added that, “Being known as the ‘Marriage Capital of Eastern Ontario’ means every weekend sees the town flooded with visitors and guests.” A quick check of the Perth Best Western Plus Spa showed that literally every weekend is nearly at full capacity all the way to 2017! The organizing committee has already set aside rooms for the number of Criers who will be making the trek to historic Perth.

Perth’s records show that it had a full time Town Crier active in the community as early as 1836. At one time, in the 1850’s there were no less than three Criers in the community. One crier, Anthony Wiseman used to peddle candy and hot broth as he made his rounds each night. With such a history, and on such an historic occasion, there will certainly be some interesting topics for the Criers to ply their trade and ring their bells about.

Criers … mark your calendar!

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Marshville Heritage Festival Town Crier Competition

Nine Town Criers from across the province competed on the Labour Day long weekend in Wainfleet for the coveted and heavy Bell Trophy.

Crier Mark MolnarCriers were asked to prepare a humorous hometown cry. Criers then drew the names of two vendors and had to prepare and perform their cries at an allotted time for judges. It was a fun, hot and memorable day for all.

Thanks go the vendors that participated, host Crier Bob Heil, the Marshville Heritage Festival and the lovely, charming, beautiful, and extremely well organized Lady Marion Heil for organizing this.

The winners are 1st place, Crier Andrew Welch, 2nd place, Crier Bill McKee and in 3rd place, Crier Tom Pekar.

For photos from this event visit: Our Photo Gallery

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World Invitational Town Crier Championships (2013)

The World Invitiation Town Crier Championships took place in Kingston, Ontario from August 1-5, 2013. Criers from eight countries and eight provinces were represented. Many Criers from Ontario also took part.

winners_2013The winner of the competition, announced Monday, was crier Richard Riddell of Anacortes, Wash. Riddell placed second to Kingston’s Chris Whyman in 2010, but took home gold in Kingston.

The second-place winner was Graham Keating of Sydney, Australia. Keating has been the city’s crier since 1986.

Third place was Chris Whyman, who has been Kingston’s town crier since 1984.

Photos of Ontario Guild members from the event can be found at: http://picasaweb.google.com/ontarioguild

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A Toast to the Ontario Provincial Championships

The Ontario Provincial Town Crying Championships took place in Kitchener-Waterloo from October 5-8, 2012. Hosted by Scott & Anne Marie Fraser a beautiful venue and high spirits made for some exceptional moments.

Crier John WebsterAfter three cries Crier John Webster from Markham came out on top followed closed by Crier Chris Whyman (Kingston) and Crier Mark Molnar (St. Catharines). Crier Webster also won the award for the most humorous cry during the competition.

Rising early on the Monday morning, many of the Criers took the opportunity to walk in the annual Oktoberfest Parade. Photos of the event can be seen at: http://picasaweb.google.com/ontarioguild/2012ChampionshipOktoberfest

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