Centennial Park

Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest draws over 13,500 people

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The eighth annual Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest was held over the weekend with a strong crowd of 13,513 people in attendance.

The three-day event took place in Centennial Park with four ribbers – Ribs Royale, Memphis Blazin’ BBQ, Dinosaur BBQ Pit and Texas Rangers – and a variety of craft vendors, children’s activities and other food and drink vendors participating.

People line up for ribs at the eighth annual Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest. The event was July 7-9 at Centennial Park.

People line up for ribs at the eighth annual Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest. The event was July 7-9 at Centennial Park.

“Except for Friday night when we had to evacuate everyone for safety reasons (due to a storm), it’s been a great weekend,” said Carl Gibb, an Amherstburg Rotarian and chair of the Rotary’s Ribfest committee. “The support from the community, as always, has been fantastic.”

Gibb noted the variety of food and crafts and “everyone seems happy.”

“Overall, it was a great weekend,” added Amherstburg Rotary Club president Laura George. “The attendees we had came and enjoyed the ribs. We definitely thank everyone for coming out because without them, the Rotary Club and Ribfest committee couldn’t have pulled off this weekend.”

Gibb and George thanked the committee, the volunteers, sponsors and all who participated in the three-day event. They also thanked the town of Amherstburg for waiving the fees to use Centennial Park and the equipment and for relaxing restrictions on the sign bylaw to help them promote the Ribfest.

People line up for ribs at the eighth annual Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest. The event was July 7-9 at Centennial Park.

People line up for ribs at the eighth annual Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest. The event was July 7-9 at Centennial Park.

“It’s nice to know that, in the end, they know the value of what this festival brings to town and that they know the work of the Rotary Club,” said George.

The Ribfest was up against two other events in the area – including the Fork & Cork in Windsor and the Essex Fun Fest – but the Amherstburg event still managed to draw a strong crowd.

“It says a lot about the town of Amherstburg,” said George.

People line up for ribs at the eighth annual Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest. The event was July 7-9 at Centennial Park.

People line up for ribs at the eighth annual Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest. The event was July 7-9 at Centennial Park.

George acknowledged the break-in that occurred to the grounds early Saturday morning that saw items stolen from several vendors. She said they are working with the Amherstburg Police Service to resolve the matter and extra security was brought on board for the next night.

Gibb pointed out they put all proceeds back into the Amherstburg community. He noted such Rotary projects as the fully accessible playground at Toddy Jones Park, the Miracle League field at the Libro Centre and the acquisition of 600 carbon monoxide detectors that will go into those in the homes of vulnerable residents. The latter project is in conjunction with Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) and the Amherstburg Fire Department.

The Memphis Blazin’ BBQ was the only ribber that hadn’t been to Amherstburg before but they liked what they saw.

The band Moondog Howlers perform Saturday night at the Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest.

The band Moondog Howlers perform Saturday night at the Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest.

“I’m loving it,” said Matthew Kershaw, as he prepared ribs Friday night. “This town is awesome.”

Those who attended enjoyed it as well, with people from Windsor-Essex County and beyond coming to Amherstburg.

“It was nice. I enjoyed it,” said Bernadette Kuzniak of Belle River. “The ribs were good and so was the sauce.

Kuzniak attended with her husband Norm and it was their first time to the Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest after moving back to the area from Waterloo.

“The music is not too bad,” added Norm.

Amherstburg fire chief Bruce Montone sinks  his teeth into some of the ribs during judging held July 9.

Amherstburg fire chief Bruce Montone sinks his teeth into some of the ribs during judging held July 9.

Kevin Girard and Kait Fox of Tecumseh also enjoyed themselves.

“We love it,” said Girard. “Our stomachs are full and our fingers are sticky.”
Fox added they were at the Ribfest several years ago and said they plan on coming back.

The Ribfest also drew people from a family reunion, including those from Sugar Grove, Illinois and Jackson, Mississippi.

Arthur Davis, from Jackson, said they stopped in as they were driving back to the United States and wanted to try the Ribfest. Sharon Phillips added they found people in town to be “very friendly” and they gave the experience “two thumbs up.”

“It’s been a beautiful experience,” she said.

Ribfest bringing ribs and entertainment to town this weekend

 

 

By Jolene Perron

 

With free admission and parking, chair of the Rotary Ribfest committee Carl Gibb ensures this weekend will be a fun time.

“This is our 8th year and this year we have new bouncy rides for the kids and we have a rock climbing wall, and everything else is pretty well the same as we have had before,” said Gibb. “We will have four ribbers, they come from all over Ontario, and we have the Golden Onion, they come in out of Montreal so people are wanting to come here.”

Gibb said two years ago, they were up to 15,000 people at Ribfest.

In addition to the food and kids attractions, another big focal point of the Rib Fest is the entertainment. With a list of nine incredible bands this year, there won’t be a quiet moment.

Saturday dinner-time entertainers will be the Stanley Brown Blues Band. Hailing from London, the group has been playing for several years and have a wide range of music at their disposal. Stanley Brown himself brings more than 30 years of experience to the stage, which is rooted in blues styles including blues rock and swing blues.

“We’ve played Ribfest several times and were requested to come back this year,” said Brown. “We love playing this event and are very happy to be a part of it and watch it grow every year. It is a very well run event and they make it very easy and pleasant for us. Our band is very well received in Amherstburg.”

Members of the Rotary Ribfest Committee, an event that operates under the umbrella of the Amherstburg Rotary Club, are disappointed with the guidelines they have to operate under to comply with the sign bylaw. Town council upheld the current sign bylaw at the March 20 meeting.

Members of the Rotary Ribfest Committee, an event that operates under the umbrella of the Amherstburg Rotary Club, are disappointed with the guidelines they have to operate under to comply with the sign bylaw. Town council upheld the current sign bylaw at the March 20 meeting.

Wrapping up the entertainment Saturday evening will be the Moondog Howlers Band, which is a rocking blues band. With a group of musicians who have played locally for some time, the band came together approximately six years ago with the goal of becoming an original recording act. Dwayne Purdy explains the summer opens up many outdoor festivals and they are fortunate to have been booked at Ribfest.

“Ollie Marcoux ran into us a few years ago in London,” said Purdy. “He was judging the IBC contest we had entered, and was very complimentary to us after our set, we have since changed our name. Stan Brown, whose talented band is also playing Ribfest, put in a good word to Ollie for us, which was very gracious on his part. However, Stan was using our current name, so Ollie didn’t realize it was us. Once he put two-and-two together, he chose to book us. We are so happy that he did.”

While the entertainment is free with your admission to the festival, any donations made to the Amherstburg Rotary Club are always appreciated. Gibb explained the funds raised last year were used to purchase more than 600 carbon monoxide detectors for low income residents and those people in need of carbon monoxide detectors in Amherstburg. He said it was a big expense, and every year they’re just going to pick a project put some money back into the community.

The ribs start grilling at Centennial Park Friday at noon and will stop Sunday at 7 p.m.

The Rotary’s Ribfest committee has also started its own Twitter feed. Find them on Twitter at @AburgRibfest.

Town council waives fees for Rotary Club’s Ribfest

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Rotary Club’s eighth annual Ribfest is this weekend and organizers received some financial relief thanks to town council.

The town has waived $2,035 in fees for the Ribfest, with $1,352 being parks fees and the rest for equipment rentals. The Ribfest committee was represented by chair Carl Gibb and Rotary Club past president Lena Lazanja.

“We are a charitable organization and all the funds we receive continue to be funneled back into town,” Lazanja told town council.

Councillor Leo Meloche stated he supported the Ribfest and didn’t have any problem with waiving the parks fees but was concerned about waiving the equipment fees. He said equipment suffers wear and tear and wanted to ensure the town has the resources to replace equipment when need be and believed “at some point we have to draw the line.”

Members of the Rotary Ribfest Committee, an event that operates under the umbrella of the Amherstburg Rotary Club, are disappointed with the guidelines they have to operate under to comply with the sign bylaw. Town council upheld the current sign bylaw at the March 20 meeting.

The Amherstburg Rotary Club’s 2017 Ribfest is July 7-9.

“Unfortunately, the equipment – we use it and we have to replace it.”

Waiving the fees was an easy decision for Councillor Rick Fryer, pointing out that the Rotary Club has undertaken many projects that have benefitted the residents of Amherstburg. Fryer thanked the Rotary Club for its efforts over the years.

“If it was up to me, we can approve the waiving of the fees every single time,” said Fryer.

The Ribfest runs 12 p.m.-11 p.m. July 7 and 8 and 12 p.m.-7 p.m. July 9 at Centennial Park.

Jr. Bulldogs improve to 3-2 after defeating Lajeunesse

 

By Ron Giofu

The General Amherst Bulldogs junior football team is back over the .500 mark on the 2016 WECSSAA season thanks to a big win over Lajeunesse.

The Bulldogs downed Lajeunesse 42-7 last Wednesday afternoon at Centennial Park with Justin Guy scoring four touchdowns – three on offense and one on defense.

Justin Guy (42) carries the ball up the field for the General Amherst Bulldogs during last Wednesday's game against Lajeunesse. Guy scored three touchdowns on offense and another on defense in the 42-7 Amherst win.

Justin Guy (42) carries the ball up the field for the General Amherst Bulldogs during last Wednesday’s game against Lajeunesse. Guy scored three touchdowns on offense and another on defense in the 42-7 Amherst win.

It was Lajeunesse who looked to have the first touchdown of the game but a 65-yard touchdown pass was disallowed thanks to a penalty for having too many men on the field. It was the Bulldogs who ended up opening the scoring later in the first quarter when quarterback Emmitt Rosati connected with wide receiver Tyler Bratt on a 26-yard touchdown pass to put Amherst up 7-0.

General Amherst sported a 21-7 halftime lead after scoring twice in the second quarter but allowing Lajeunesse to get on the board. Guy capped a drive with a one-yard run early in the quarter to put Amherst up 14-0 then he would return an interception 30 yards to increase the Bulldogs’ lead to 21-0.

Bulldogs quarterback Emmitt Rosati (7) unloads a pass during General Amherst's 42-7 win over Lajeunesse last Wednesday afternoon at Centennial Park.

Bulldogs quarterback Emmitt Rosati (7) unloads a pass during General Amherst’s 42-7 win over Lajeunesse last Wednesday afternoon at Centennial Park.

Lajeunesse would score on a four-yard touchdown run late in the first half for their only touchdown of the afternoon.

The Bulldogs would have two more touchdowns called back on penalties in the second quarter.

General Amherst made it a 28-7 game in the third quarter when Rosati found Cole Chittle on a 36-yard touchdown pass. Two more touchdown runs from Guy, one from seven yards out and the other from 34 yards, rounded out the scoring in the fourth quarter.

Chittle converted all six Amherst touchdowns.

“It was a great game,” said Guy. “Our runs up the middle were really good.”

As for his interception, Guy said he read the Lajeunesse quarterback’s eyes and saw he looked directly at the receiver he wanted to throw to.

“I sprinted for it,” he said.

Guy said the Bulldogs’ next opponent will be a more difficult game, as they play Sandwich in LaSalle.

“It’s going to be a tough game,” he predicted.

General Amherst's Calvin Cribley (83) tries to break away from a Lajeunesse defender during last Wednesday afternoon's game at Centennial Park. The Bulldogs won 42-7.

General Amherst’s Calvin Cribley (83) tries to break away from a Lajeunesse defender during last Wednesday afternoon’s game at Centennial Park. The Bulldogs won 42-7.

Bulldogs’ head coach Dino Rosati said they played well but could have played better. He said they made some mental mistakes, possibly due to overconfidence, but he was happy with the game overall.

“It was a solid win for sure,” said Rosati. “We stayed focused. Our tackling was much better. Our players are seeing field better on defense.”

Rosati believes the Bulldogs “are starting to hit their stride” and hopes they continue that upward trend into the final two regular season games and into the playoffs. Both of the remaining regular season games are on the road.

“Sandwich should be a good game,” he said. That game is Oct. 26 at 4 p.m.

Town to seek grant funding to improve tennis courts

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The town of Amherstburg has applied for grant funding under the Ontario 150 community capital grant program with the hope of refurbishing local tennis courts.

However, town council altered the recommendations put to them by administration at the Sept. 12 meeting.

Town council voted to refurbish two courts at Malden Centre Park, two of the five courts at Centennial Park and both of the two courts at Anderdon Park. Administration had recommended refurbishing both courts in Anderdon and all four courts in Malden Centre.

The administrative proposal had not only called for the resurfacing of the courts in Anderdon and Malden at $12,000 per court, but also upgrading the netting, lighting, and fencing, as well as putting in accessible entrances and pathways, water bottle refill stations, signage and staging an official opening. The projected cost would have been $334,000 plus HST with half of the cost covered by the grant, if successful.

In a report to town council, manager of recreation services Rick Daly said four of the town’s 11 tennis courts remain usable with “extensive repair” required to the remaining seven. He said the six courts in Malden and Anderdon are in “dire need of repair.

“Centennial Park was not included in the project scope because of its size and the numerous sub-facilities (i.e. track, ball diamonds, beach volleyball courts, basketball courts) located within the park. It is also expected that future direction for Centennial Park will come from the Parks Master Plan,” Daly stated in his report.

Councillor Joan Courtney said she was surprised that Centennial Park was not included.

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“The tennis court itself is entirely enclosed,” she said.

Councillor Rick Fryer said there is a deal with the Greater Essex County District School Board so they can use Centennial Park, including the tennis courts. He believed those courts should see some work instead of doing all of the courts in Malden so that the high school students could benefit. Councillor Diane Pouget added that tennis is part of the high school curriculum and that Centennial Park is in the “core area” of town.

“Why are we not meeting with the school board prior to making a decision?” she asked.

Pouget said she doesn’t see the courts in Anderdon and Malden being used and didn’t want to support $167,000 in town money going to the “outside area” of town.

Councillor Leo Meloche said he sees the Anderdon courts being used extensively but suggested two courts at each site being refurbished “to at least give all areas some facilities.”

Daly pointed out that would mean half the courts in two of the parks would remain unfinished.

CAO John Miceli said the town is still undertaking a parks master plan, which would include Centennial Park. He said that is a potential location for a new General Amherst High School and believed refurbishing tennis courts there could be “premature” should a new school eventually go there.

Miceli added the previous arrangement with the public school board resulted in the upgrades done a few years ago at Wigle Park.