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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Essex Fun Fest offers something for everyone

by Sylene Argent

Beginning last Thursday, and wrapping up on Sunday, the volunteers on the Essex Fun Fest Committee worked with community partners to offer an array of activities and attractions, including an exciting World’s Finest Shows midway, a vendor and food area, and nightly music entertainment for the 2018 Essex Fun Fest.

  The Mixx, CIAO Band, Smokin’ Monkeys Band, White Noise, Exit 31, and DJ Rye supplied the musical entertainment throughout the festival for those enjoying the carnival or catching up with old friends in the Bavarian Gardens.

From the Libro Credit Union main stage, The AC/DC show Canada entertained on Friday evening and California Sun offered the sound of the Beach Boys on Sunday. The County Legends Tribute Tour-featuring the music of Garth Brooks and Keith Urban- entertained on Saturday evening, setting the tone of the night before the annual fireworks display, which Countryside Chrysler, Jeff Smith County Chevrolet, and Ken Knapp Ford sponsored.

  From the Long and McQuade performance stage, a variety of entertainment was offered, including Zumba and yoga stretch demonstrations from Onyx Fitness, sing-a-longs with Enchanted Adventure Parties, demonstrations from the Essex Belly Dancers, and performances from Roberto the Painfully Mediocre Magician and the Ben Show, a comedy act using juggling, unicycling, and other stunts. Fairgoers were also able to learn about nature and birds of prey through special lectures Kingsport Environmental hosted.

  Youth, and the young at heart, had a chance to challenge friends and neighbours in the watermelon eating contest on Saturday or head over to the Ken Lapain & Sons LTD. Thrill Zone to watch members of Cra-E-Crew Extreme BMX Stunt Team complete many high-flying tricks.

  Young participants were able to enjoy pony rides on Sunday and the Unifor Local 444 Kids’ Zone throughout the festival.     

  Volunteerism was also celebrated over the weekend. On Saturday evening, Christine Hayes, who is a long-time Fun Fest volunteer, was awarded the Citizen of the Year distinction. She will be honoured in the fall at a banquet that will benefit Heritage Essex, which maintains the Essex Railway Station. Through the Windsor-Essex Compassion Care Community Awards, several citizens were recognized for their volunteerism and commitment to helping others.     

  Artists were also recognized as the Arts, Culture, and Tourism (ACT) Committee presented the ACT Excellence Awards to deserving creative individuals on Sunday. Young performers also showcased their on-stage abilities in the Youth Talent Show, making it difficult for judges to decide top entries.

  Also, on Sunday, fairgoers were able to appreciate the bond between horse and rider as the Silver Stars Drill Team performed an array of routines. Community members also enjoyed several exciting match ups during the Classic Championship Wrestling showcase or were able to watch those with great aim compete in the annual horseshoe tournament.  

  One of the main attractions of the Essex Fun Fest is the annual Saturday morning parade, which had a “Celebrating Hometown Heroes” theme this year. The around one-hour long parade featured those supporting cancer fighters and survivors, firefighters, and police officers. It also featured several marching bands and exciting floats, some of which dispensed sugary treats to young onlookers.  

  Joe Garon, Fun Fest Committee Chairperson, was pleased with this year’s event, especially since it was coupled with great weather. In the past, the fair has had to battle on-and-off rain or extreme heat.

  “Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves,” Garon said of festival patrons. He suspected this year’s attendance for the festival was around 20,000.

  A few years ago, the Essex Fun Fest began charging a fee for admission, excluding youth under six or seniors. That collection has really allowed the committee to build on the event to bring in more entertainment and attractions, Garon said.

  He was pleased to have more food vendors onsite this year.

  “We really want the Fun Fest to be something for everybody, and I think we’re doing that,” he added.

  In the future, Garon hopes more interested individuals will get involved with the committee to help plan and organize the event, or in offering up a few hours to volunteer during the festival.   

  Within the next week or so, members of the Fun Fest Committee will sit down to go over the 2018 event and will start making improvements, such as adding new attractions, for next year.

  To learn more about the Essex Fun Fest, log onto

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