Amherstburg’s Gone Car Crazy returns to downtown streets July 30



By Ron Giofu


Classic cars, trucks and motorcycles will be returning to the downtown streets of Amherstburg July 30.

The annual Amherstburg’s Gone Car Crazy show runs from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. that Sunday with hundreds of vintage vehicles to line Dalhousie St., North St., Richmond St. and Rankin Ave., weather permitting.

Town council agreed to have the Amherstburg's Gone Car Crazy show classified as a "town event," as it has been in the past. There had been some concerns raised by administration.

The Amherstburg’s Gone Car Show returns to the streets of Amherstburg Sunday, July 30.

“This is our 12th annual,” said Eleanor Renaud, who heads the organizing committee. “I can’t believe this is our 12th year but I couldn’t have done this without my awesome team of family, friends and volunteers who have truly stepped up and taken on this even with me. They continue to work so hard.”

Renaud noted that “it’s a lot of work but it’s a fun day” with gates opening at 7 a.m. on North St. She thanked all sponsors of the event, including platinum sponsor Muscle Cars & Classics. Xcentrick Autosports from Oldcastle and Napa from Windsor are new exhibitors this year, she added.

“We’ve also got a vintage motorcycle club coming back this year,” Renaud stated, with all of those motorcycles being at least 30-years-old. “We also have a couple of vintage police cars coming.”

Smashed Apple Gourmet Catering will be the show’s main food vendor this year. Rick Rock and the Throwback Kings will be performing in Toddy Jones Park with the Johnny Cash tribute band Paying Cash performing on the downtown stage at Richmond St. and Dalhousie St.

Renaud said they try and keep the show fun, including awarding roughly 20 trophies in such categories as best original, “Nifty 50,” “Sweet 70,” favourite interior, special interest and participants’ choice. The best in show, won last year by Ken and Gail Reder of Amherstburg, is named the “Paulie Award” with that being in honour of the late Paul Renaud, Eleanor’s husband and the show’s co-founder.

Who will win the Paulie Award this year for the best in show. The 12th annual Amherstburg's Gone Car Crazy show is July 30.

Who will win the Paulie Award this year for the best in show. The 12th annual Amherstburg’s Gone Car Crazy show is July 30.

The highest amount of vehicles ever at the tournament topped 600, she added, and attendance is determined a lot by the weather.

“We’ve got the same layout as before,” she said. “It works very well.”

The organizing committee is also seeking some new volunteers as well, Renaud stated.

“Our team has been together for 12 years and they need some relief,” she said. “It’s a fun day and the time really does fly by.”

Pre-registration is encouraged and people can register online at, by picking up a form at Rags to Riches Upholstery at 41 Sandwich St. S. or by calling Renaud at 519-736-4020.

Shuttle buses to allow people easier way of getting to Canuck It Up Festival



By Ron Giofu


The Canuck It Up Festival is fast approaching and there is a new way of getting downtown should people not wish to look for a parking space.

Anne Rota, manager of tourism and culture with the town, said there will be four shuttle buses that will be transporting people free of charge to the Aug. 5-6 festival. The drop-off and pick-up point will be the intersection of Park St. and Dalhousie St., Rota said, with people able to park and catch one of the buses at the former Honeywell property or the Libro Centre.

“The buses will do a continuous loop downtown,” said Rota. “We’re encouraging people to hop on the buses. It will help relieve parking and traffic.”

An enormous rubber duck will be coming to Amherstburg as part of the Canuck It Up Canadiana Festival that will be held Aug. 5-6. (Special to the RTT)

An enormous rubber duck will be coming to Amherstburg as part of the Canuck It Up Canadiana Festival that will be held Aug. 5-6. (Special to the RTT)

If they don’t take the bus, Rota said the public is encourage to walk or carpool.

One of the major draws is expected to be the huge rubber duck that will be parked off Navy Yard Park near the intersection of Dalhousie St. and Richmond St.

The large rubber duck is part of the Ontario 150 Tour that is travelling to six Ontario ports. It started in Toronto and Owen Sound with other stops being Sault Ste. Marie, Midland, Amherstburg and Brockville.

“We’re the second last stop for the duck. We’ve had weekly conference calls with Toronto and Owen Sound. They had record-breaking crowds. We’re trying to get ready as much as we can,” said Rota.

Many of the events run from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. both days with those events including deck tours of the tall ship Appledore V, a Park House 150 fashion exhibit, stilt performers, horse and carriage rides, the farmers market and food court and daily 4 p.m. performances by the Greater Windsor Essex Concert Band.

Those attractions are in addition to the West Coast Lumberjack shows at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily and three daily performances by Rhythm of the Nation in Navy Yard Park. The Diplomats Drum & Bugle Corps will also be presenting a special performance Aug. 5 at noon in Toddy Jones Park.

The West Coast Lumberjack show is heading to Amherstburg as part of the Aug. 5-6 Canuck It Up Canadiana Festival. (Special to the RTT)

The West Coast Lumberjack show is heading to Amherstburg as part of the Aug. 5-6 Canuck It Up Canadiana Festival. (Special to the RTT)

“They’ve been preparing for Canada 150 for about one year,” said Rota. “They’ve been traveling across North America for competitions with the Canada 150 show.”

Canada 150 celebrations are “once in a lifetime,” Rota added, and that the town hopes people come to Amherstburg to enjoy the Canuck It Up Festival in the town’s downtown area.

“For Amherstburg, we are looking at Canada 150 as a year-long celebration,” said Rota. “The Civic Holiday weekend is the perfect time to hold this festival.”

In terms of planning and logistics, Rota believes it is as big as the Roots to Boots Festival that was held in 2012.

For more information, call the town’s tourism office at 519-730-1309, visit or

Raiders, Rebels and Redcoats coming to Fort Malden Aug. 5-6



By Ron Giofu


The Canuck It Up Festival isn’t the only event happening Aug. 5-6.

Fort Malden National Historic Site will be hosting “Raiders, Rebels and Redcoats” that weekend with re-enactments and activities based around the Rebellions of 1837. Alex Dale, interpretive officer at Fort Malden, noted it is a “rebellion site” as the original fort was burned during the War of 1812. He said concentrating on the rebellion period was appropriate and also allows them to rejuvenate what Fort Malden offers during the Civic Holiday weekend.

Fort Malden usually offers Military Heritage Days that weekend and while they feel it is still a good event, the Raiders, Rebels and Redcoats event will put some new excitement into that weekend.

“We thought it might be a neat way to rejuvenate the event,” Dale stated.

The tall ship Appledore V will be docked off Navy Yard Park, he said, but it will also participate in battle re-enactments. Battles will be re-enacted daily, including a major battle at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 5 complete with pyrotechnics and rebels “firing” at the shore.

Raiders, Rebels and Redcoats coming to Fort Malden Aug. 5-6. (RTT File Photo)

Raiders, Rebels and Redcoats coming to Fort Malden Aug. 5-6. (RTT File Photo)

“We’re basically going to recreate the Schooner Anne incident,” said Dale.

Dale said it was the first time shots were actually fired at Fort Amherstburg, noting it was a big moment in the Fort’s history.

While Parks Canada sites are free for Canada 150, Dale pointed out there will be a minimal fee to come in for the Raiders, Rebels and Redcoats event. He said $1.90 will be charged so Fort Malden can recoup costs but wristbands will be given to attendees so that they may re-enter free of charge if going to the neighbouring Canuck It Up Festival.

A Tavern on the River Saturday night, complete with a Celtic band, will carry a $5 cover charge, added Dale.

“I think it’s going to be pretty cool,” he said. “It’s going to be a neat event. There could be as many as 100 tents in the Fort.”

Whether it becomes an annual event remains to be seen, but Dale added Fort Malden can offer a diversity of events.

“I think it’s time for a bit of a change to show we can offer so much more,” he said. “Our students are super-excited. They’ve heard of re-enactments at distant places and to have a fairly large scale battle re-enacted here is an exciting thing for them.”

Dale envisions re-enactors hitting the downtown streets that weekend during the Canuck It Up Festival as part of some cross-promotion initiatives.

Hours will be 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Aug. 5, with the gates re-opening at 6:30 p.m. for the battle followed by the Tavern on the River. Hours on Aug. 6 will be 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Harvest Festival coming back to Amherstburg this September


By Jolene Perron


The team that brought the Fork and Cork festival to Windsor-Essex for the last six years has agreed to take on Amherstburg’s Harvest Festival.

Chris Mickle, owner of Protenders and Windsor’s Dominion House Tavern, was born and raised in Amherstburg. He’s run the Protenders business for 20 years, after starting out as a bartending school, and eventually expanding to special event staffing and management 15 years ago. In addition to running the Fork and Cork Festival, the Protenders are also a large part of Bluesfest Windsor, the Redbull Air races and more.


“We chose to take on the Harvest Festival because we attended last year and saw great potential for a great festival,” said Mickle. “Also I’ve wanted to host a huge event in my hometown since I got into the festival and special event business.”

He, along with Cory Clarkson, Mike Doidge and Kristian Neill will be making a couple of major changes to the festival, including eliminated the cashless wristbands and adding some international touring bands into the musical lineup, which will be announced in a could of weeks along with their list of food and beverage vendors.

The festival is set to take place September 8, 9 and 10. Stay tuned for Harvest Festival announcements in the coming weeks.


Communities in Bloom judges coming to town July 16-18

By Jolene Perron


A fun, candid, be caught wearing your Canada 150 t-shirt contest has been issued to Amherstburg residents.
From July 16-18, Communities in Bloom judges will be touring Amherstburg, which has made the list of Ontario’s 2017 National Finalists.

According to their website, “Communities in Bloom is a Canadian non-profit organization committed to fostering civic pride, environmental responsibility and beautification through community involvement and the challenge of a national program, with focus on enhancing green spaces in communities.”

“We’ve participated in two previous years, this is our second time in the national competition for communities in bloom,” explained Amherstburg’s Tourism Coordinator, Jennifer Ibrahim. “They’ll be assessing our community based on several aspects. It’s just not about the flowers, its about how progressive your town is, it’s about your community engagements which is why I think this is so fun and appropriate. It’s about environment, it’s about having food infrastructure, it is about having nice flowers too, but it’s about so much more than that. “

The 2017 Communities in Bloom committee members in Amherstburg include Dr. Allan Halowski, president of the Amherstburg Fort Malden Horticultural Society, horticultural society members Marilyn Cadotte and Maxine Iler, Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce representative Janet Willoughby, tourism co-ordinator Jennifer Ibrahim, manager of parks, green spaces and naturalized areas Annette Zahaluk and Anne Rota, manager of tourism and culture.

Communities in Bloom logo

Over those three days when judges Lorna McIlroy from Alberta and Normand Fleury from Quebec will be in town, photographers will be out in the community snapping candid photos of anyone wearing their Canada 150 t-shirts. The winning community participant will have their photo published in the July 26 edition of the River Town Times. It will be up to all participants to make sure they look at the newspaper, and if they see their photo, to bring the paper in to the River Town Times office at 67 Richmond Street to claim their prize pack. The prize pack will include two tickets to an upcoming event at Caesars Windsor, as well as two tickets to the Tavern at the Fort VIP event Aug. 5 at Fort Malden National Historic Site. The event will feature a meet and greet, preluded by the Battle of Point Pelee re-enactment which is taking place on the Detroit River on the south side of the Fort Malden property featuring Tall Ship Appledore V at 7:30 p.m.

Canada 150 t-shirt are available at The Gordon House or The Village Shoppe.