Co-An Park

Seventh annual McGregor Mug Run a huge success



By Christian Bouchard


The seventh annual McGregor Mug Run and International Beer Festival saw nearly 300 runners flock to Co-An Park Saturday to run and raise awareness for Epilepsy Southwestern Ontario.

Runners had a choice of running either 5km or 10km, with both distances being half road course through town and the other half being on a greenway trail.

From left to right: Joaquim Lourenco, Andrew Aguanno, Michael Gamberta, Ivo Oljacic and Tyler Rowles compete in the seventh annual McGregor Mug Run and International Beer Festival race at Co-An Park in McGregor.

According to Ryan Raymond, event coordinator, the event is now in its seventh year and has seen tremendous growth over the years.

“The first year we had about 40 people and it was all family as they felt like they had to come out to support me,” said Raymond. “Fast-forward to this year and we’re just shy of 300 runners. I’m very happy with the growth and I’d say the word of mouth is out there about this race.”

Proceeds raised from both the race and the beer festival will benefit Epilepsy Southwestern Ontario. Also included is a dinner to be held at the McGregor K of C in October. While Raymond does not have final numbers, he estimated they will hit their target.

“Our goal was at least $5,000 this year and I think we should get there as numbers for the run are up and the beer festival pre-sales are up as well,” said Raymond. “Fingers crossed but I think we’ll hit that $5,000 mark.”

With the bulk of participants being from the Windsor-Essex region, the event also had runners from Blenheim, Oakville and Kitchener to compete in the race.

Justin Hunt (left) and event coordinator Ryan Raymond sprint to the finish line at the seventh annual McGregor Mug Run last Saturday.

“Of all the years doing this, I’ve never talked to one person who hasn’t had a blast in this race,” added Raymond.” This must be the best year for the race. And for the beer festival, just look at all the cars. Two hours from now the field is going to be full.”

Joaquim Lourenco of Harrow was the first to cross the 5km finish line with a time of 18:55:94 while Andrew Aguanno of Windsor was the first to cross the 10 km line with a time of 32:44:79. Kelly Jean of Belle River was the top female in the 5km race and Alex Vorshuk of Windsor was the top female runner in the 10 km race.

Co-An Park turns 40, tree dedications part of the event


By Jonathan Martin


Co-An Park has turned 40 and its patrons have thrown it a birthday party.

Folks gathered around two small trees last Saturday in recognition of the contributions Robert Anderson and Murray Sellars made to the park.

Co-An Park is run through a collaboration between the municipalities of Essex and Amherstburg (formerly Colchester and Anderdon, respectively).  One council member and three community members from each municipality make up a committee that runs the park.

The friends and supporters of the late Robert Anderson hold a brick on which his name is carved in front of a tree that was planted in his name. They planted the tree in Co-An Park, which he helped beautify during his time on its organizing committee.

Every year, the committee chooses two people who have contributed to the improvement of the park and plant a tree in their name.

Murray Sellars currently sits on the Co-An Park committee.  Robert Anderson was a former member who died in 2017.

Leo Meloche is Amherstburg town council’s representative on the committee.  As stones with Sellars’ and Anderson’s names were placed in front of the trees’ trunks, Meloche spoke about their legacies.

“Bob truly dedicated his life to his family and to his fellow man and we thank his family for allowing us to celebrate his achievements today,” he said.  “Murray, we thank you for your service and dedication to your community and to the Co-An Park.  Please accept this tree as a memento of our gratitude.”

Essex Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche is the official representative for his municipality.

Kenneth Holden was one of the first people to work on the park as it stands today.  Forty years ago, he landed a spot on the board and started working on the park’s fences and seating.  Today, he simply likes to volunteer.

Last Saturday, as he cooked up steaks for the park’s hungry baseball players, he reminisced about years gone by.

“We finished the bleachers on Christmas Eve,” he said.  “We were sitting there in the freezing cold, working on them.  That was 20 or 25 years ago and they’re still here.”

He said that over the past few decades, he’s seen the park improve dramatically.  He said a lot of work has gone into making it what it is today, but that the work is worth it.

As kids whooped at the crack of a baseball bat, he smiled.

McGregor Music Festival plays on despite weather



By Ron Giofu


It was cooler than normal and wetter than organizers would have preferred.

However, the McGregor Music Festival was presented Sunday afternoon and evening at Co-An Park undaunted.

Crowds were slightly lower and the entrants in the car show that was also held during the festival also saw a decline in participants this year but the organizing committee was still pleased with how the event unfolded. Committee chair Sue LeClair said those who came out “brought their money” and still gave where they could.

“This morning, I didn’t think we were going to get this many,” said LeClair, who stated around 4:30 p.m. they had about 500 people on the grounds at various points during the day.

It was the 29th McGregor Music Festival and proceeds went to the Windsor Cancer Centre Foundation.

Jammin’ 4 Wellness performs during the 29th annual McGregor Music Festival, held June 10 at Co-An Park.

“It’s the only event for the Cancer Centre Foundation in Essex County,” LeClair stated. “We want Windsor to have the best equipment at the cancer clinic.”

The event hits even closer to home for the committee, as LeClair noted one of its members is now battling cancer.

“We have a committee member fighting it now and we want her and everyone else to have everything possible at the cancer centre,” she said.

Specific projects this year’s proceeds will go towards will be video conferencing equipment and the patient assistance fund. Houida Kassem, executive director with the foundation, explained that if people are struggling to pay their mortgage, transportation costs or with other expenses such as utilities, the patient assistance fund can help.

“To date, we have helped over 700 people,” she said. “If it wasn’t for people like Sue and her committee of volunteers, that would not happen. It’s like a labour of love for their volunteers.”

The hope is that the festival raises more than the record $39,000 established in 2017, but LeClair had her fingers crossed the weather wouldn’t put a damper on those efforts. To date, she estimated the McGregor Music Festival has surpassed $250,000 in its first 28 years.

The McGregor Music Festival was held Sunday, June 10 at Co-An Park with Ken Koekstat (pictured) and Brand X being one of the bands.

Kassem agreed with LeClair that if a patient is going to be treated in Windsor, they want the best possible equipment for them. She said the festival has grown over the years and it is a testament to the festival’s popularity.

Bands included C2C Entertainment, the All-Star Band, Rio Michaels, Exit 31, Brand X, Jammin 4 Wellness, Lookin’ Back and Bad Moustache. There were a number of raffles and draws as well with the pig auction matching last year’s record of $1,200. A final fundraising total for this year’s festival will not be known until July.

LeClair, who expressed thanks to all of the festival’s sponsors, said even though next year is the 30th annual festival, the committee will likely keep things the same.

“We’re not changing anything,” she said. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Lady Gens eliminated in “disappointing” WECSSAA playoff tournament



By Ron Giofu


The WECSSAA girls slo-pitch playoffs were last Monday and Tuesday but the General Amherst Lady Gens could not replicate their recent tournament success.

The Lady Gens played four games and lost two of them, which eliminated them from the tournament, which was played at Co-An Park in McGregor.

Mike Prescott, who coached the team with Nikki Maxey, called the WECSSAA playoffs “very disappointing.”

“Teams wanted to plays us hard and it showed,” he said.  “We came out strong against Belle River and they came back on us to tighten the game to the end. We came through in the end with the hits needed to win.”

The final score was a 14-13 win for the Lady Gens.

The second game was against Kingsville and General Amherst came out on the short end of a 15-14 decision.

The General Amherst Lady Gens girls slo-pitch team.

“In the Kingsville game, I feel we came out flat against a team that really wanted it.  Our talent gave us the late lead but in the final inning, Kingsville went ahead by two and we could only answer with one,” said Prescott. “It was a tough loss which dropped us to the loser bracket and a long road to the top.”

The third game was against UMEI and it was a 20-5 win.

“In the UMEI game, our team got it going quick and aggressively,” he said.  “It was a hitting and fielding display and we finished that one with a mercy.”

The fourth, and what turned out to be the final game, was a 26-19 loss to Villanova. The Wildcats would advance to the finals where they would lose 10-6 to Leamington.

“In our final game against Villanova, they started out on us with a two-out, 10-run first inning,” he said.  “You tell hitters to hit where they aren’t and that’s what they did.  We climbed out of it to bring the game to even going into the seventh.  They put up another big inning on us and we didn’t answer.”

“It was a tough day for a very promising team,” said Prescott.  “We lose seniors who have had an impact on this team since Grade 9. We have three all-stars selected from this team to represent us including Brooklyn Prescott, Carly Renaud and Payton Laing.  Our future though looks very bright as we fielded a very young team.”


Essex County’s 33rd annual Steam and Gas Engine Show showcases history for another year


By Jolene Perron


From tractor pulls, to their annual chicken and rib dinner, the 33rd annual Essex County Steam and Gas Engine show showcased pieces of history at Co-An Park over the weekend.

Justin Flood follows his son Brennan, age 2, around the Essex County Steam & Gas Engine show while he explores as many tractors as possible Saturday.

Justin Flood follows his son Brennan, age 2, around the Essex County Steam & Gas Engine show while he explores as many tractors as possible Saturday.

The festival in McGregor has a reputation for bringing city and county families together for a day in the sun. Mitchell Schinkel was following his two-year-old son around the festival, who he said is just obsessed with tractors. His father, Ben, said Connor takes after his father.

“I used to take him when he was little,” said Ben. “He loved tractors when he was young. We do a lot of work for farmers, and this is supporting the farmers, and we have an interest in tractors ourselves.”

Brothers Arnold and Wayne Surtees look at a 1972 international Model 1066 at the Essex County Steam & Gas Engine show Saturday.

Brothers Arnold and Wayne Surtees look at a 1972 international Model 1066 at the Essex County Steam & Gas Engine show Saturday.

Exhibitors like the McGuire family have been a part of the festival since it began. Mark McGuire said he likes to carry on his father’s legacy, especially since he just passed away in December.

“Mark’s dad has a private museum of antiques on the farm, and this was dad’s thing, to bring things from his museum out,” said Mark’s wife Cori. “He just loved to be with people.”

Steam Gas and Engine Show-17

In addition to the McGuire family’s antique farming equipment, Mark brings out his vintage bicycles, which he said is the only thing his father didn’t collect. It also serves as a preview for their vintage bicycle show, which will be at their farm during the last weekend of August.

“I think it’s a great history lesson for kids,” said Cori. “Kids come here and, especially city kids, they see tractors. They walk around with their eyes wide open, they get to learn about the past, and it’s a nice slow kind of a day. You see people talking to each other. It’s a nice day to just slow down and enjoy county life.”