Co-An Park

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.”

McGregor Mug Run and International Beer Festival returns Sept. 23

 

Runners and beer lovers will hit the streets and raise a mug for the sixth annual McGregor Mug Run & International Beer Festival this September.

The event returns Saturday, September 23 at Co-An Park in McGregor.

Event director Ryan Raymond said craft beer fanatics will get the chance to taste some of the best craft offerings Ontario has to offer. The brewery line up to date includes local favourites BREW, Frank Brewing Co., Walkerville, as well as Muskoka Brewery, Flying Monkeys, Bayside Brewing Co. and Dusty Boots Hard Root Beer. There will also be event newcomers such as Red Line Brewhouse and Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co.

An offering of international favourites will also be made available.

McGregor Mug Run

More breweries to be announced throughout the summer months, he stated via a press release.

Two stages of entertainment will house local and independent musicians including Kelsi Mayne, Years or Ernest and CCMA award winning musician Eric Ethridge, while guests can grab some local food, play oversized beer pong, or lounge outside in Muskoka chairs. To enter the beer fest, people must be 19-years-old or older and Raymond said “this will be strictly enforced.”

The race portion of the event will include both a 5km and a 10km run/walk with a start time of 4 p.m. sharp. People do not have to participate in the race to attend the beer fest or vice-versa.

The organizing committee has decided that it is important to keep the “back yard party vibes” of the event and therefore have decided that a maximum of 1,000 tickets to the beer fest will be made available and no more than 500 for the race portion of the event.

Tickets are available now with the option to either run, attend the beer festival, or do both.

Organizers state that “as always, the McGregor Mug Run & International Beer Festival is committed to contributing back to the community and has once again partnered with Epilepsy Southwestern Ontario.”

Runners leave the starting line in front of Co-An Park at the McGregor Mug Run last Saturday afternoon.

Runners leave the starting line in front of Co-An Park at the McGregor Mug Run during the 2016 event.

A charity dinner will also be held Sept. 16 at the Knights of Columbus Hall in McGregor. The dinner is sponsored in part by Frank Brewing co. and will include live entertainment.

Strickland’s Auto has partnered with the event again this year to offer door-to-door shuttles free of charge, Raymond pointed out. Donations to the charity are always welcome. Shuttles are available in Essex, Harrow, Amherstburg and Windsor.

To learn more about the McGregor Mug Run & International Beer Festival including registration, full schedule, directions, and more, visit www.McGregorMugRun.com. People can also follow the McGregor Mug Run & International Beer Festival on Twitter at @McGregorBeerFst, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/McGregorMugRun and on Instagram @mcgregor_beer_fest.

For sponsorship opportunities please contact Lori Ostrow at Lori@McGregorMugRun.com.