No shortage of fun in C-K


I had the opportunity to take stop by and take photos of two awesome events recently in Chatham-Kent – Festival of Golf on Friday and FireFest C-K on Saturday.

Both may be very different, but they share something in common – putting smiles on the faces of the people of Chatham-Kent.

They also shared a surprising amount of heat from Mother Nature. The outdoor events took place during a mid-summer-like sizzler of a heat wave.

On Friday, at Willow Ridge Golf & Country Club, 148 golfers hit the links for a day of fun and golf. One participant joked that the Children’s Treatment Centre Foundation of Chatham-Kent messed up a perfectly fun day by having participants play golf. He then went on to heel his next tee shot into a creek, earning laughter from the rest of his foursome. It was his second swipe at the ball, as his first landed a few inches short of the ball, taking out a rather large divot in the process.

There were serious golfers on the course, casual players such as the gentlemen mentioned above, and everything in between. All seemed to have a blast.

I admit that when Mike Genge, executive director of the foundation, told me of his plans for the event, where participants pay $750 to take part, I thought this fundraising effort would wind up in the sand trap.

Boy, was I wrong. Mike, take a bow, as there was nary a sad face Friday as teams came through the turn at the clubhouse. Everyone was having a great time, sharing lots of laughs, and the day was only a few hours old.

Giving away a car and a ton of other prizes will put smiles on faces, for sure.

But the real payoff is from the wide variety of entertainment, food, beverages and fun at seemingly every hole.

During my short time there, I saw a Hawaiian dancer entertaining in front of the clubhouse, a mariachi band rolled by in a golf cart, music blared from many a golf cart, and people were doing their best to remain hydrated.

The next day, FireFest Chatham-Kent showcased about 80 fire and emergency response vehicles in Chatham’s downtown. In the past, the event has been hit by rain, but this time around, there was nary a cloud in the sky. Stan the Fireman, from Cottreville, Mich., had the hot task of taking children on rides in his mini-fire truck and trailer. He took several breaks in the shade over the course of the day, with a cool towel draped over his neck.

But the coolest place to be was near the F.I.R.E Challenge Course for the children. That was where the young folks put on bunker gear and a firefighter helmet and ran through an obstacle course, crossed a balance beam, doused a blaze and rescued a little baby from the building.

With Union Gas volunteers on hand, the little ones loved using a fire hose to knock over a wooden image of a fire. Their accuracy was lacking at times, as they hit the side of the building, sending a spray of water all over the place, which cascaded on nearby spectators.

I got hit about 30 seconds after I walked up to the course. Like everyone else who got the ricocheting spray, I didn’t complain. On such a warm day, it felt incredible!

Some kids even went and stood behind the building facade where the hoses sprayed once they knocked down the “fire.” Back there, you got downright soaked. Again, in the heat, these kids were enjoying it.

As for the rest of FireFest, it was great to see a lot of people, especially families, downtown, checking out the vehicles. There were some eye-catching vintage fire trucks.

And then there was Ecto-1, the Ghostbusters replica vehicle from Quebec. Parked in front of the Capitol Theatre, it drew people in. How could it not? Not only does it look just like the original from the 1984 movie, the guys in charge of the car blared the theme song, or flicked on the siren – which sounded just like the one from the movie.

Kids, parents and firefighters alike had their photos taken with the vehicle.

Firesound, a band made up of Toronto firefighters, played deeper into the downtown, while two members of The Stilts Guys, up on stilts, danced the day away.

Vendors dotted the downtown, and the food and beverage folks enjoyed a day of brisk business.

A tip of the hat for Brent DeNure, Keith Chinnery and Wes Thompson, organizers of FireFest.

More presents for Finn

Finn Corcoran, our resident feline, received more treats Monday morning. He now has additional catnip-filled toys thanks to the mystery lady in the red Camaro.

This giving woman quietly slips into and out of our office before anyone has a chance to react.

And in her wake are Handmade by Linda gifts for our zany cat.

Speaking of Finn, he doesn’t seem all that calmer after neutering. It may take some time, I guess, but he still has his share of spazzy moments.

At least he’s nipping and scratching less. Our arms and legs seem to be healing up for the most part.


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