30th Annual Essex Fun Fest brought the community together

Filed under: Headline,In Our Community |

Front-July13.17by Sylene Argent

A common phrase heard around Town is, “See you at the Essex Fun Fest.” Over the past 30 years, the community looks forward to this annual tradition to connect with old friend and acquaintances. It is often referred to being the unofficial “family reunion” or “homecoming” that acts like a magnet to attract former residents back to their hometown for the weekend.

Over those 30 years, countless volunteers have been involved in organizing the annual four-day festival for others to enjoy. Many others have at least volunteered a few hours of their time to contribute a little to ensure the festival’s success.

Thanks to those volunteers over the years, the Essex Fun Fest has survived and has become a strong tradition in Town many look forward to attending.

In its third decade of operation, The Essex Fun Fest continued to offer family-friendly entertainment through a midway comprised of many games and rides, a vendors’ area for shopping, and the opportunity to taste summer-fun foods.

This year’s festivities kicked off on Thursday evening with an opening ceremony and the Prince and Princess Talent Showcase on the Main Stage._MAX-having-a-great-time-in-the-kiddie-area-at-the-fun-fest!

Over the four-days of festivities, attendees were able to listen in on a variety of music entertainment and enjoy demonstrations from local performers, including a performance from the Kingsville-Essex Associated Band, Crystal Gage and Ryan St. Denis, The Essex Belly Dancers, the CIAO Band, Fall of Day, retro ‘80s tribute band White Noise, acoustic classic rock musician Peter Stratil, pop rock recording artist Christie Palazzolo, DJ Rye, and British classic Rock tribute band British Beat 66.

Fairgoers were also able to enjoy some of their favourite tunes performed by seasoned musicians as tribute concerts were held in the likeness of county musician Kenny Chesney, CCR and John Fogerty, the Blues Brothers, and the Beatles.

Other entertainment included Classic Championship Wrestling on the Sunday, the Craz-E-Crew Extreme BMX stunt team, a demonstration that highlighted birds of prey, a horseshoe tournament, demonstrations from magician and entertainer Bill Nuvo, the annual watermelon eating contest, and a performance from Kelly’s Dancing Kidz.

The Kid’s Zone provided youth the opportunity to play and for pony rides and sing-a-longs-with their favourite enchanted characters at various times over the festival weekend.

Off of the Fun Fest grounds, The Essex Centre BIA hosted its 20th Annual Classic Car Show along Talbot Street in the downtown business core and Sidewalk sales over the course of the weekend. The Essex & District Horticultural Society hosted its annual Flower Show at Essex United Church and the Essex Railway Station hosted an event that offered puzzle-making and movie-watching with a train theme. On Sunday, an interdenominational church service was held at Sadler’s Nature Park.

One of the most anticipated components of the Essex Fun Fest is the annual parade. This year’s theme was reflective of Canada’s 150th birthday, and several of the floats were decked out in red and white to show pride in the nation.

A special moment was when, half way down the parade route, the procession stopped. The Kingsville-Essex Associated Band led float entrants and parade-goers in the singing of Canada’s National Anthem.

On Saturday evening, the always anticipated late-night fireworks display lit up the sky.

On Thursday, volunteers and sponsors were shown appreciation through an evening dedicated to them. Because of their generosity of either time or financial contributions, the Essex Fun Fest’s 30th anniversary was celebrated with style.

Essex Fun Fest Committee Chairperson Joe Garon was pleased with this year’s outcome. He said ride revenues were up, there was great weather to complement the weekend, and many came out to show support to the entertainers and enjoy the midway. As a result, many of the vendors were also happy with the weekend.

Comments and suggestions on how to improve the festivities are always welcome, however, Garon encourages the community to help out by volunteering, even if it as little as two hours of their time, over the festival weekend. The more help the small organizing committee has, the better the event outcome will be.