By Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario – A new entry to the growing list of festivals in the area, really stood out on its own. For three days, Fall Fest launched an event focused on culture, music, regional breweries and local youth at Lamoureux Park.
It was its first year and the last Kinsmen festival of the season.
Fall Fest took a wide stance in entertainment. From Chinese Lion Dancers, regional breweries (Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company included), popular tribute bands, local cuisine and musical talent, traditional martial artists, Zumba, Jr. A Colts, and a Kid’s Zone, options were plenty.
Event chair Terry Muir wants the summertime fun in Cornwall to last just a little bit longer. The festival is also a vehicle to raise funds for charities that support local youth.
“Summer doesn’t end on Labour Day,” joked Muir. “We also saw a need in the community. Food prices are rising.”
Muir said although the event was free to the public, it was still collecting donations and raising money for two specific charitable aspects. To enhance local breakfast programs in schools, and support the Children’s Christmas Fund. (CCF) The Fall Fest creator said 1,400 families are expected to pass through the Cornwall Armoury at Christmas, which receives funding from the CCF. He calculates the annual food drive event will donate $65,000 in food supplies to those in need.
Another reason for the new event is to draw outsiders in and keep the community busy with exciting activities.
“This will help make Cornwall a destination, not just a place to pass through,” said Muir. “Having a festival every month will help this place grow.”
Fall Fest co-chair Marvin Plumadore has done children’s charity work with Muir for over two decades. For him the festival is an excellent bookend to the season.
“This festival is a positive spin for the city,” said Plumadore.
A modest volunteer crew of 60, half of which were not affiliated with participating organizations, such as the Kinettes and Optimist Club, we’re determined to get the festival into the mix of annual events.
Muir had great things to say about all of the volunteers, and a special nod to Kinsmen Kid’s Zone coordinators Jonathan Symington and Lee Theodore.
“Jon and Lee took on the challenge to set-up the Kid’s Zone in a week,” said Muir. “They knocked it out of the park.”
Kids got their faces painted by Cloud Nine Inspirations, explored a maze, hurdled through multi-lane obstacle courses against Colts players, played Hot Wheels, ran under a parachute, kicked wooden boards in two with SDG Taekwondo and did Zumba.
Not too far over, martial artists were swinging swords and moving with ninja precision. Earlier, the extravagant costumes of the Chinese Lion Dancers captivated the crowd. Also scheduled were Irish dancers and First Nations dancers.
“We wanted to showcase what Cornwall’s all about,” said Muir, on his choice for a diverse cross of talent. “Just about every culture is present in the area.”
Next year, Muir and Plumadore hope to see more of the multicultural community in attendance.
Winnie Good took her two grandchildren Tienna, 6, and Harmony, 5, to Fall Fest to see what it was really about.
“It’s great, they’re having a ball,” she said. “There are a lot of things here for the kids.”
The two sisters were extremely impressed with their painted faces.
Muir said the beauty of the event is that it’s a blank canvass. For him and his fellow volunteers, Fall Fest is another Kinsmen effort that allows the community to celebrate its diversity and grow new possibilities.