Pranks and songs bring back fond memories for honourary chair

Paul Lomheim shows off his honorary chair Winter Festival jacket during the Tux and Toques Gala on Saturday. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald.

When it comes to the Prince Albert Winter Festival’s Country North Show, Paul Lomheim remembers the jokes just as much as the music.

Lomheim, whose familiar presence lit up the annual event as both a performer and a producer for many years, had plenty of time to reminisce about both when he was toasted as the winter festival’s second ever honorary chair on Saturday.

Managing the event offered the best of both worlds for the man nicknamed Lumpy, giving him a chance to put on a first class show while having a few laughs in the process. On Saturday, he told those gathered at the annual Tux and Toques Gala that the event left an unmistakable mark on his life.

“Over the 18 times I did it over the last 31 years, I meat so many incredibly fantastic people,” he said. “I’d say that 75 to 80 per cent of my best friends right now are people who I met through the Winter Festival and Country North Show.”

Putting on a good show is something takes pride in, but he’s even more proud of the list of musical performers who started at the Country North Show before moving on to more high profile gigs. Lomheim called the event a stepping-stone for local talent, and expressed his gratitude for being able to watch it first hand.

“It was a blast,” he remembered. “Back then, you auditioned probably 100 singers, and you also picked band members from different bands. You just didn’t pick a band, like Joe Blow’s band.”

However, when it comes to Lomheim’s favourite memories, it’s hard to leave out the pranks. On one occasion they drove a remote controlled car around the stage to distract a singer, while during another they tricked a musician into thinking she’d accidently lit the stage on fire.

Lomheim himself wasn’t even immune to the pranks. On one occasion, his assistants tricked him into thinking his car was falling apart in the parking lot.

The longtime producer said it made for a great family atmosphere at the Country North Show, and it’s a part of the Winter Festival he’ll always be proud of.

“This has been an incredible honour,” he said.

@kerr_jas •