OPINION: Late-stage effort appreciated

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JJohn McGregor enjoy their Canada Day cupcakes at the celebrations held inside the Chatham Cultural Centre on July 1, 2016. A last-minute effort by then-MP Dave Van Kesteren led to the cupcakes and historical speeches. Two years of COVID restrictions almost cost Chatham its celebrations for Canada Day again this year.

As we claw back towards “normal” here in Chatham-Kent, it’s great to see efforts being made to fill in all the blanks on the summer things-to-do calendar.

With the Thamesville Threshing Festival and the Kinsmen Fair dominating the fun this weekend, Canada Day festivities loom a week away.

It appeared that, one again, Canada Day celebrations in Chatham would not occur. That happened in 2016, when the Canada Day committee in Chatham fizzled and then MP Dave Van Kesteren stepped in to ensure something took place. There were cupcakes, historical readings and other smaller-scale events, attracting an estimated 400 people.

This time around, with the support of Postma Heating and Cooling, Chatham’s Canada Day fun takes off July 2 (see story page 9). Again, things looked grim for celebrations in the largest community in the municipality, but Chatham Ribfest organizer Chris Glassford took the lead, with Postma jumping aboard.

And now, on July 2, there will be fun and games underway from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

This is something the community needs. We’ve endured two years of cancelled events due to COVID-19. Outdoor gatherings such as this are the heart and soul of what makes Chatham-Kent tick.

We have incredible weather here for the most part. Let’s take advantage of it once again.

So now, folks will be able to enjoy live music and beverages; there will be face painting a magic pirate and other fun for the kids; vendors; and even axe throwing.

Yes, it is taking place the day after Canada Day, but as Glassford said, many outlying communities have their events going on July 1, so this allows folks to extend their celebrations by a day.

It’s not perfect, but the effort is appreciated.

Perhaps next year, the fireworks will return, as will the volunteer committee and a parade.

Perhaps.

Regardless, with the pandemic throwing a dozen wrenches into the gears of so many events and operations, what materializes is appreciated.

Well done, Chris Glassford and Caleb Postma.

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