Western Secondary’s annual “Pumpkinfest” draws big crowds



By Ron Giofu


An annual tradition at Western Secondary School resumed last weekend with hundreds passing through the school’s hallways to support it.

“Pumpkinfest” was held Saturday and Sunday with people from around the Windsor-Essex County area converging on the local high school to purchase from the wide variety of craft and food vendors.

Western Secondary School students not only welcomed people to Pumpkinfest, they also collected goods for the school’s can drive. Front row (from left) Bryanna Fahringer and Myron Bennett. Back row (from left): Anthony Quiring, Trenton Breault and Duncan Phelps.

“We’re full this year,” said Sam Thomas, one of the Western Secondary teachers that helped organize the weekend event. “We have our regulars and we have some new ones this year.”
Some of the vendors also included Western students themselves, as a number of crafts and goodies made by the students were on sale.

“Everything’s great,” Thomas reported. “Everyone is happy.”

The gymnasium (shown here) and the hallways at Western Secondary School were packed with crafters and craft lovers as part of the Oct. 28-29 Pumpkinfest at Western Secondary School.

Over 100 students, or roughly one-quarter of the school’s population, helped volunteer. They joined staff members, former staff members and Western graduates in helping out.

“It makes it so nice,” said Thomas. “I don’t think there’s many places that happens.”

With so many former staff and students coming by the school for Pumpkinfest, Thomas joked that “I get lots of hugs this weekend.”

Western Secondary School students had their own crafts and artwork for sale as part of the Oct. 28-29 “Pumpkinfest.” The event is a fundraiser for the high school.

Money raised goes back into the school with Thomas stating that it helps pay for field trips, events and special guests. She added that she starts work on Pumpkinfest in May with bookings being accepted starting every June.

Janet Arnold shows one of the knitted items she had for at Pumpkinfest.

The students also enjoyed the event. Many were gathered by the main entrance collecting for the school’s can drive with student Anthony Quiring saying that the event allows them to represent their school to visitors.

“It’s awesome,” said Quiring. “I’m happy. We worked really hard.”

Feedback was positive, the students agreed.

“We’ve heard really good things,” said Quiring. “(The public) likes it here and we’re doing a good job.”

Josh Fex and Jaclyn Hertel look at some of the items for sale at Pumpkinfest.

Janet Arnold was one of the 110 vendors on site and was selling various knitted goods.

“I’ve been coming here for quite a few years now,” said Arnold. “I’ve got quite a few people who come back each year.”

Fundraiser for Brock Hasson planned for Nov. 4



By Ron Giofu


A local seven-year-old’s fight against a form of cancer known as rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) will be the subject of an upcoming fundraiser.

The “Bravery for Brock” fundraiser will be this Saturday at the Columbus Community Hall (formerly known as the K of C Hall) with Brock Hasson and his family being the recipients of the proceeds. His mother Natalie Brundage Hasson said they won’t be there due to Brock needing surgery Nov. 1, but they are appreciative of all of the support the community has given thus far.

“He’s doing pretty good,” she said last week. “It’s one day at a time.”

Brock has already had to undergo three months of chemotherapy and now faces three more months, but Natalie said they have received a lot of support from the community.

“It’s hard to put into words,” she said. “It’s surprising so many people are willing to help. It’s so overwhelmingly wonderful. There are so many people who keep reaching out for me who don’t even know him. That’s the nice thing.”

Once Brock’s treatments have concluded, there is a 90 per cent chance the cancer won’t return.

“It gives us hope that it won’t come back,” added Natalie.

Brock Hasson sits in a fire truck during a recent tour of Amherstburg fire station #1. (Special to the RTT)

The cancer was found in one of his testicles but didn’t go anywhere else.

“It was all localized,” said Natalie. “It didn’t spread anywhere else.”

The Make-A-Wish Foundation has contacted the family but Natalie said they will participate once Brock has concluded his treatments.

Natalie said the family is extremely thankful the Amherstburg Fire Department had Brock come to the station, get his fire gear and was given a tour. Chief Bruce Montone said at the Oct. 23 town council that donations are welcome for the family at Libro Credit Union with the fire department also making a donation.

Natalie also thanked Amherstburg Public School and Brock’s teacher Laura Braithwaite, Little Hands for the selling of shirts and all of the supporters.

The Nov. 4 fundraiser gets underway when doors open at 6:45 p.m. and it runs until 11 p.m. Tickets are $20 with that including Bull’s Eye Pizza and dessert. Music is by The Del Vito’s 60’s Dance Party and there will also be a cash bar, raffle prizes, a 50/50 draw and silent auction.

To purchase tickets or to donate prizes, contact Gianna Brundage Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at 519-967-1389 or e-mail

St. Clair students to hold fundraiser for Miracle League of Amherstburg



By Jolene Perron


As part of their business and marketing programs, a group of St. Clair College students have been given the task of planning, organizing and running a charity event and have chosen an Amherstburg organization to be their recipient.

“My hopes for this event is to raise the maximum amount of money possible, have a fun environment and provide the best experience to the families and children involved,” said Patrick Thompson, Amherstburg resident and student in the business and marketing program. “It’s an exciting opportunity for us as soon to be marketing professionals to be able to plan and organize an event as large scale as we hope this evening can be.”

Thompson said the Nov. 22 pasta dinner fundraiser will take place at The Fort Family Fun Centre. They have named the event “Miracle at The Fort” and it costs $20, which will include the dinner as well as an entry to win a brand new smart phone. Participants must be present to win, and there will also be silent auctions and raffle prizes at the event.

Although The Fort Family Fun Centre has only been open since February, co-owner Brad Hearn said they have been helping charities from the start as well as sponsoring various sports teams.

“We like to help organizations in our direct community,” explained Hearn. “The Miracle League is a great organization here in Amherstburg. We have helped them before. We have discounted the food pricing as well as the hall rental to help the fundraising. We do our best to help out in the direct community.”

For more information or to purchase tickets, e-mail or text or call 226-787-8640.

Second Chance Animal Rescue asking community for support with unique event



By Jolene Perron

A local rescue is working with a local distillery to put a new spin on fundraising dinners.

“We have heard that the food at Wolfhead Distillery is like taking a traditional pasta dinner and elevating it to a much higher level,” explained Julie Bortolotti from Second Chance Animal Rescue. “We are having roasted rosemary chicken, penne in vegetarian sauce, salad tossed in Wolfhead Vodka Dressing and rolls with butter. By request, a Vegan/Vegetarian option will be available.”

Bortolotti explained they have two fundraising dinner events per year, which gives them an opportunity to celebrate all of their accomplishments and chance to get together with other supports to thank them for their contributions towards helping the animals.

“Animals hold a soft spot in my heart and that is the main reason why we agreed to do this fundraiser,” explained Sue Manherz, co-owner of Wolfhead Distillery. “We recently started fostering animals and ended up keeping our second foster dog. Second Chance Animal Rescue does a fantastic job helping and re-homing so many animals that I am happy to help them out. I wish there were more organizations like them.”

While they won’t be able to have any animals at the location, they will have a PowerPoint presentation with photos of adoptables and of animals that have been adopted out. Additionally, they will have our binder of animals available for viewing.

Second Chance Animal Rescue is holding a fundraiser dinner at Wolfhead Distillery on Howard. The proceeds will go towards helping meet the needs of animals like Tessa, until they find their fur-ever homes.

Second Chance Animal Rescue is holding a fundraiser dinner at Wolfhead Distillery on Howard. The proceeds will go towards helping meet the needs of animals like Tessa, until they find their fur-ever homes.

“The unfortunate situation is that there are already so many unwanted animals all over the world and a rescue can only save so many,” said Bortolotti. “That is why we encourage people to consider opening their hearts and their homes to the ones that find themselves without a loving place to lay their heads at night. We also promote spaying and neutering to help curb the overpopulation of unwanted animals who can – and many do – live life on the streets, scrounging and fighting to survive.”

The funds raised from this event will be directed towards veterinary care for the rescued animals. Bortolotti said every animal that makes their way to Second Chance Animal Rescue is provided with flea treatment, deworming, up-to-date vaccines, spay/neuter and microchip. The costs of veterinary care far exceed what they raise through adoption fees alone so it is imperative that they come up with creative, new and fun ways to raise the money to pay for these expenses. Periodically, Bortolotti explained, when they run into unexpected medical issues with animals, they also create GoFundMe Campaigns to quickly raise the funds for these unexpected needs.

“Many of the dogs that have come through our rescue have found themselves dumped in high kill shelters because they were no longer wanted by their families,” explained Bortolotti. “We also – when space permits – accept animals (both dogs and cats) that are surrendered by their owners and, periodically we are able to help tiny kittens that caring people pick up from the streets. In each instance, we carefully review the circumstances and ensure that every animal that becomes part of Second Chance Animal Rescue, is healthy before they are made available for adoption.”

The Dinner at the Distillery will be August 24th at 6 p.m. Tickets are $40 each, and are available by e-mailing

Second Chance Animal Rescue will also be holding a silent auction, and is planning a few other surprises for the evening.

“I’m looking forward to the event, although I am so busy running around that I never get an opportunity to enjoy the food,” said Bortolotti. “The venue is amazing and the staff at Wolfhead Distillery are very accommodating.”

Manherz explained this is only their second fundraiser, since they don’t have a special private room and have to shut down for the public. However, she said being able to help in any way is always a great feeling.

“I know its not one person that can do everything – it takes a team,” said Manherz. “And every little bit helps and if I can’t donate my time right now at least we can be here to help support by offering our services and establishment to fund raise for a wonder cause.”

LCBO inviting the public to “Pick Your Poison” in the name of charity



By Ron Giofu


The Amherstburg LCBO is holding a fundraiser this Friday in an effort to help the United Way Windsor-Essex County.

“We are going to have on Aug. 4 what we are calling ‘Pick Your Poison’,” explained Marylyn Bartlett, manager of the Amherstburg LCBO store. “Because the LCBO gives a lot to the community, we’d like to get the community involved.”

Bartlett said they want to get local residents involved in the fun, adding she has found Amherstburg residents like to give back to local causes within the town. Staff will either come in before their shift, stay after their shift or come in on their day off to participate. People will have a choice on how they can “punish” them, as they will stand under “prison cell” decorations. Choices include five water balloons to throw at the staff member for $5, $2 to shoot silly string at a staff member, $5 for a staff member to eat a jalapeno or $10 for a pie in the face.

Marylyn Bartlett and Elaine Marton from the Amherstburg LCBO store hold up posters and promotional materal inviting the public to help them raise money for United Way. A fundraiser is coming to the local LCBO store this Friday.

Marylyn Bartlett and Elaine Marton from the Amherstburg LCBO store hold up posters and promotional materal inviting the public to help them raise money for United Way. A fundraiser is coming to the local LCBO store this Friday.

All proceeds go to United Way Windsor-Essex County.

The fundraiser runs from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. with some special guests coming in as well, with the LCBO district manager due in at 11 a.m. and Mayor Aldo DiCarlo around 4:30 p.m.

“We’re asking people to bring the family out, have some fun with us and help out United Way,” said Bartlett.

Bartlett said they learned proceeds from events held last year at the Amherstburg store helped give boxed lunches to youth in need. This year, money will help other programs, including after-school programs for at risk youth and those needing extra counseling.

“This year, we decided to step it up a notch and have some fun with it,” she said.

The LCBO’s Amherstburg location is at 495 Sandwich St. S.