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Leamington’s 150th anniversary kicks off in grand style

A weekend that featured some rain showers wrapped up with showers of fireworks over Lake Erie as the Leamington 150 celebration took over the streets and beaches of Leamington.

The weekend began with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Sunset Amphitheatre on Friday, June 28, featuring Leamington Mayor Hilda MacDonald, local MPPs Trevor Jones and Chris Lewis, local MP Dave Epp and Caldwell First Nation Culture and Language Director Carrie Ann Peters.

Also on hand were eight of the 1974 Leamington Centennial hostesses who took the opportunity for a bit of a reunion some 50 years after they were prominent volunteers in the 100th birthday event.

On Saturday afternoon, skies cleared and Leamington’s 150th birthday celebration continued with a classic car cruise and car show that took over the uptown area on Saturday, June 29. 

A first for this area, the cruise featured 100 vintage vehicles that began at the Leamington Fairgrounds, travelled south down Erie Street towards the dock and ended up on John Street, Queens Avenue and Talbot Street West for the all-day car show.

The shows and cruise were part of the Leamington 150 official celebration and spearheaded by the Leamington 150 committee, the municipality and Gino DelCiancio’s Leamington Area Classic Cruisers.

Classic cars from southwestern Ontario were featured at both events, with car enthusiasts in abundance at the classic car show, checking out under the hoods and sharing stories of how and where they acquired their treasures. 

Entries included a lime green 1947 Studebaker pickup owned by Earl Richardson of Harrow and a coral 1958 Edsel Pacer owned by Wayne and Joan Brown of Wheatley.

The shows and cruise were followed by live music on a stage at the Italian Centennial Park.

On Sunday, the celebration continued with stage performances in the Italian Centennial Park once again.

Monday, July 1, the big show came to Leamington with Terri Clark and Michelle Wright packing Seacliff Park and the amphitheatre hill with an estimated 5,000 people.

Wright, who hails from Merlin, Ontario was happy to be in Leamington once again, performing on her birthday on the beaches of Lake Erie.

“I’ve had the pleasure throughout my four-plus decade career, to perform on July 1,” she said. “Canada Day and coming home, and being with my countrymen on this day, is always very special. We have a great country we live in.”

Wright arrived in Leamington over the weekend from Dauphin, Manitoba, where she performed last weekend. She had several family members who made the trek from Merlin to see her and spend some time backstage.

She was especially grateful to be opening for her good friend Terri Clark.

Wright’s 23 top ten hits filled the air at the amphitheatre and she told some stories of the road to the thousands in attendance.

Terri Clark, who hails from Medicine Hat, Alberta, took the stage as the headliner, bringing all of her hits and showing the audience why she garnered six number one singles, finishing off with one of her biggest hits, a cover of Linda Ronstadt’s Poor Poor Pitiful Me.

Wright rejoined Clark on stage and together they sang O Canada to usher in a massive fireworks display off the beach.

The Leamington 150 celebration will continue in the coming weeks with events being announced regularly.

This week’s
online edition

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

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