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Leamington 150 celebration kicks off Friday

It was 50 years ago this month that Leamington last celebrated in the manner residents will experience over the next couple of weeks.

Starting with Friday’s opening ceremony, Leamington area residents will be in full celebration of Leamington’s sesquicentennial.

Michelle Fortier and John Moran have headed the Leamington 150 committee and they say the crew has worked hard to make things happen this summer, despite a short time frame to get things planned.

“We’re thankful to those who have sponsored this event, to the municipality and to all the volunteers who’ve come forward to help,” says Michelle. “It’s been a lot of hard work by the committee, but this will be exciting.”

The Municipality of Leamington budgeted for the celebration, while the money earmarked for The Bank Theatre’s Music on the 42 Concert Series has also gone into the summer-long recognition of Leamington’s 150th birthday.

“We’re still looking for a few sponsors,” says Moran. “That will enable us to bring in more acts and put on more events.”

They are also still looking for volunteers, so those with a few hours to spare can email [email protected] to lend a hand, or sign up at leamington.ca.

Opening ceremonies will feature the participation of Caldwell First Nation Culture and Language Director Carrie Ann Peters, a ribbon cutting and an appearance by the 1974 Centennial Hostesses, who played a big part in Leamington’s centennial celebration 50 years ago.

That takes place at the Sunset Amphitheatre in Seacliff Park on Friday, June 28 at 10 am. All are welcome to attend the ceremony. 

In 1974, Leamington held a month-long celebration that featured parades and contests as well as major concerts at the arena.

This year, the celebration will include a Dream Cruise – something Leamington has never seen. Hundreds of classic vehicles are expected to gather at the Leamington dock, then make their way up and down Erie Street on Saturday, June 29 from noon until 3 pm. Those same cars then have the option of parking uptown along a closed-off Talbot Street, as pedestrian traffic will be the only thing allowed in that area.

The Dream Cruise will be overseen and organized by local classic car guy Gino DelCiancio and his Leamington Area Classic Cruisers. Feel free to take your lawn chairs to the curb along Erie Street between noon and 3 pm for the best seat in the house.

A stage will be set up at the Italian Centennial Park, near the library, where people can dance and listen to the music, featuring live bands from 4-10 pm.

On Sunday, the opening weekend will continue with a multicultural celebration at the Italian Centennial Park  from 2 pm until 8 pm. Local clubs and organizations will celebrate with music, food and plenty of fun.

On Canada Day, Monday, July 1, be sure to get to Seacliff Park early if you want a good spot on the hill as Michelle Wright will take the stage at 6:30 pm, followed by fellow Canadian country superstar Terri Clark, who hits the stage at 8:30 pm.

For parking, it’s suggested to park at the Nature Fresh Farms Recreation Centre on Sherk Street and catch the LTGO to the north end of Seacliff Park. You’ll need to book and pay for that service as if a regular day.  A golf cart will be available to transport those who need it from the top of the park to the hill.

Bella’s Bites, Cottam Candy and License to Sear will all be on hand at the top of the hill for refreshments and the Kinsmen concessions will be open at the bottom of the hill.

There will also be vendors, highlighted by the Leamington 150 merchandise table which will sell t-shirts, hats, pins and other souvenirs. 

Be sure to stick around for a massive fireworks display off Seacliff Beach immediately after the concert concludes. Moran and Fortier say there will be a couple of ‘first-time ever’ surprises on stage.

All of these events are free entry, but bring cash for merchandise, souvenirs, food and drink purchases. Above all, stay hydrated and enjoy the celebration.

After the weekend

A special Leamington 150 display will also kick off at the Leamington Arts Centre starting July 2, with plenty of old photos and quilts, courtesy of the Leamington and Mersea Historical Society. It runs through July and will also feature displays at the Nature Fresh Farms Recreation Centre.

As the summer rolls on, keep any eye out for other  events, including concerts at the amphitheatre, special art displays and shows, and a Lego mosaic which will be free to all occuring in August.

July 13, there will be a concert at the amphitheatre but details were not available at press time.

Harrow’s James Gibb, backed by Mystery Train, will bring Elvis alive on the amphitheatre stage on July 20 and the Windsor Symphony Orchestra will play there on July 27.

For more information, visit The Bank Theatre’s Facebook page or visit leamington.ca.

This week’s
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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

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