WTF Festival actors performed for a sold-out crowd during Saturday’s Murder on the Agawa Express event.
People from all over Ontario came to view this hilarious performance, but it also attracted locals who had never been on the train before.
“I’ve never been on this train before,” local Saultite Thomas Cook said. “(My wife Darlene and I) came out today for the Murder on the Agawa Express. We thought ‘what the heck? It’d be nice to do for a change – we’re both retired and have lots of time.'”
Cook’s wife, Darlene, said she’d been on the train before, back when she was a child with Girl Guides, but her and Thomas had never been on the train as a couple in the 58 years they’ve been married.
“I’m glad we came,” Darlene Cook said. “We were going to do this for a long time.”
The all-star Canadian comedy cast set the scene as the train was heading towards Agawa Canyon, going from car to car throughout the train explaining that once passengers reached the Canyon, they would see the unveiling of an eighth painting by a unknown, “extra” member of The Group of Seven.
During the unveiling of the painting, a PR spokeswoman from the Group of Seven fan club meets her untimely death. Whilst trying to figure out which of the many suspects committed this crime, the spokeswoman’s assistant is also murdered.
The train ride back saw the on-going investigation and the confession from the murderer – an ex-cop who was trying to clear his family’s name due to their long history of unsolved crimes.
Festival event manager, Alana Kenopic, said this event was a great way to showcase some of the tourism assets the Sault has to offer.
“The Agawa Canyon Tour Train is one of our number one drivers and we thought what better way to use that asset and put people on board that are locals and give them a special treat, and then bring people in from out of town and show them something they haven’t seen before,” she explained. “This event was sold out – we had 250 seats on it, and every one of those seats was sold within the first six weeks.”
Kenopic said she’s hoping that this festival will continue to grow, becoming an annual event.
“We want to definitely try and grow the festival; we want to try and add in new events – but the tour train, I think, will stay as one of our anchor components.”
Kenopic said that the money raised during this event will be put away and used to fund next year’s festival.
“We’re re-investing it; we want to try and use that to grow and then we can add in more events as we do that.”
SaultOnline spoke to event-goers after the train re-docked at the station to get their reactions.
Marnie Stone and her husband, Adrian Vilaca, said they heard about the festival through a friend who works for Tourism Sault Ste. Maire.
“As soon as we heard about it, we thought it would be just a great thing to take part in and it was an awesome day,”said Stone.
Vilaca said he enjoyed the event.
“The murder mystery was a blast, it really was,” he said. “And getting to meet the actors, the way that whole thing went. I thought that was great – it was cool.”