Ridgetown celebrates Canada Day early with parade, concert this Thursday

Canada Day will be celebrated early as Ridgetown and area residents will have a four-day head start on the nation’s birthday festivities.

The annual East Kent Celebrates Canada Day parade and concert takes place this Thursday night.

The Canada Day parade starts at 6 p.m., followed by a Dirt Country concert at the Br. 243 Legion at 7 p.m. as a part of the East Kent Celebrates’ Summer Concert Series.

The parade forms on West Street and proceeds east on Main St. to Cecil St.

“Any cars, tractors, organizations who want to put something in the parade are more than welcome to do so,” said Colin Pool, Co-Chair of the East Kent Celebrates’ committee.

Pool said no advance registration is required, and people interested in putting an entry into the parade can show up at the staging area (West Street) beginning at 5 p.m.

After the parade disperses at the corner of Main and Cecil, people can head to the Legion for the Dirt Country performance, which starts at 7 p.m. on the outdoor stage in the back lot.

Spectators are reminded to bring their lawn chairs to enjoy the two-hour show.

The concert is free, although donations will be appreciated.

Food and beverages will be available at the outdoor venue starting at 5:30 p.m., while the Legion itself will be open.

The East Kent Celebrates committee holds the parade and concert on Thursday so members and residents can travel on the holiday weekend.

For residents who plan on staying around town, the Ridgetown District Agricultural Society is hosting a Farmer’s Market at the Fairgrounds on Canada Day Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

There is also a lot of excitement in town leading up to the Canada Day weekend.

The Ridgetown Business Improvement Association holds a Canada Day-themed decorating contest and a kids’ colouring contest.

Ridgetown and area residents are invited to decorate their vehicles or property – such as their yard, home, barn, garage or window – or their business with red and white Canadian colours. The first prize is a Canada-theme package sponsored by the Ridgetown BIA.

The winner of the colouring contest, sponsored by Councillor John Wright (random draw), receives a Canada-theme prize. The prize is sponsored by the Ridgetown BIA.

If you don’t plan on travelling during the Canada Day weekend, several communities hold celebrations on the weekend and Canada Day.

The Highate Agricultural Society is hosting their annual Canada Day supper on Monday, July 1 at the Highgate Ball Park. Tickets are $25 in advance only (519-678-3272). Burns broasted chicken, roasted potato, coleslaw, roll, plus dessert will be served.

In Blenheim, Glad Tidings Community Church hosts its annual Canada Day party on Monday, July 1, starting at 6 p.m. The party features entertainment, kids’ activities, food, and a Canada Day cake leading up to fireworks at dusk.

In Erieau, Fire Station 14 is holding its annual fireworks on Monday, July 1, at dusk. Spectators can enjoy the show on the beach or from other vantage points in the village, as the fireworks will be set off on the ball diamond.

Chatham-Kent Municipal Airport will have a day-long celebration on Saturday with FlightFest, featuring vintage aircraft on display from the Canadian Aviation Museum and paid rides in their historic RCAF trainer aircraft—call (519) 966-9742 to book a ride in advance.

There will also be food vendors, children’s areas, and artisans’ areas from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and live entertainment from 12 noon to 9:30 p.m.

The night will be capped off by a Canada Day fireworks display at 9:30 p.m., presented by the Ridge Landfill Community.

Free shuttle service will run between the Blenheim Memorial Arena and St. Paul’s Church on Park Ave. W. in Chatham, starting at 11 a.m. and running continuously until the end of the fireworks.

Michael Bennett, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News