Reader dislikes RetroFest immensely


Sir: Thankfully, the horrible RetroFest is over and King Street in downtown Chatham is back to its bubbly and normal self, where people can move around and do business, shop or bank.

However, when RetroFest comes along, nobody can get downtown, travel around or shop with those clinking, clanking collections of ancient metallic trash called old cars everywhere on the streets.

They even block access to the downtown by choking off Fifth Street, denying a way to get to the south part of Chatham. If those ancient relics have to be brought out, why not leave King Street open to commerce and use Wellington Street from William Street to Third Street for that event? Harvey Street to Queen Street, Centre Street and Queen Street would provide ample space for that event and regular business could continue to King Street.

Or better, take those relics of bygone days down to Memorial Arena, which isn’t used from the end of hockey season to September and have the event there. If that doesn’t provide enough space, resurface the old Navistar lot, pull out the grass and have the event there where nobody would be inconvenienced. A 200-seat auditorium could be built there for entertainment.

Another problem with downtown Chatham is that Tecumseh Park is filled with vendors, also cutting off access to the Creek Bridge and downtown. Again, no way of getting downtown.

When RetroFest was on, I struggled getting through the mayhem to the Downtown Chatham Centre. I wanted to buy two items and the clerks in each of two stores were thrilled to see me. I had first almost been bounced from one side of King Street to the other by the unorderly crowd pushing first one way then the other. I was exhausted by the time I got to the mall.

The clerks in each store told me they had watched the crowd pushing through the mall and nobody going into the stores for over an hour.

So while some people think RetroFest is a wonderful excuse for a big event, my experience has been bad, so I suggest putting it somewhere else if it has to be held.

Will Shepherd



  1. Wow! Really? I don’t attend Retrofest as it’s not my kind of event, but there are lots of ways to avoid it. It has never been a problem for me. I prefer to do my shopping in Canadian stores whenever I can and find Giant Tiger and Canadian Tire are easier to get to anyway.


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