Strong turnout encourages Sunshine Travel Club for 2023

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Richard Craftchick “kind of thought” there would be strong public interest in the Sunshine Travel Club trips planned for 2023.

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But the non-profit group’s chairman of the board was ‘truly surprised’ that more chairs had to be set up at the Seniors Drop-In Center on Bay Street on Thursday evening for would-be travelers wishing to hit the road for the coming year.

More than 170 club officials have heard of the 15 trips planned for 2023 – the first full year of excursions since 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic has scratched 16 events planned for 2020, including getaways to Greece, Quebec, in Tennessee and Louisiana and at the Stratford Festival.

Craftchick estimated that more than half of attendees at the club’s annual general meeting indicated they had traveled to the United States since the pandemic began. No hands were raised when the audience was asked who wasn’t interested in traveling to America.

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It’s a good sign for us,” he told the Sault Star after the game ended. “It shows that people have been there and have no problem returning to the United States. It means our travels need to be well taken care of.”

The Sunshine Travel Club has planned four trips south of the border next year – ranging from two to five days. One-off trips, which are not part of the official itinerary for the coming year, could be added closer to travel dates.

Right now it’s a little early to figure out what attractions, entertainment or what’s happening in the United States,” Craftchick said.

The club has only made one trip in 2021 – two day trips to Elliot Lake to see the fall leaves. Two years with virtually no income has been “financially devastating” for the travel group which turns 60 in 2023.

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We’re “looking forward to a great year,” Craftchick said. “We have to take small steps to get there, but we will get there. With support like this, we will continue to move in this direction.

Sunshine Club travelers will make most trips on a new bus purchased by AJ Bus Lines in 2020 shortly before the onset of the pandemic. The coach has about 50 seats, staggered seating, WiFi and “lots more” legroom, Craftchick said.

Trip details are expected to be posted on the Sunshine Club website by Nov. 9.

Trips planned for 2023:

March 15: spring social;

March 28-April 4: Cayo Coco, Cuba;

April 8-12: Toronto (Shen Yun, Toronto Blue Jays);

May 23-27: Ottawa Tulip Festival;

16-26 June: Scotland;

July 10-24: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia;

July 26-27: Charlevoix, Michigan (Young Americans);

August 14-18: Lake Superior Circular Route;

Sept. 6-10: Stratford Festival and Shaw Festival;

September 19-23: Shipshewana, Ind. ;

Oct. 3: Autumn leaves in Wawa;

Oct. 4-15: Quebec (initially scheduled for 2020);

Nov. 7-9: Shopping spree in Saginaw, Michigan;

Dates to be confirmed: Christmas Wonderland in Detroit, Michigan;

December 12: Christmas Social.

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On Twitter: @Saultreporter

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