Emo is getting back into the spirit of Canada Day by holding a free “street party” to help celebrate the country’s 149th birthday.
“We wanted to test the waters out this year since next year is Canada’s 150th,” explained Allison Cox, rec director/community development co-ordinator for the Township of Emo.
“We want to do something big for the 150th so we thought if we do something a little bit bigger this year, we can start amping up excitement for the huge celebration that we’re hopefully going to have,” she reasoned.
This year’s celebration will take place along Front Street, which will be closed to traffic from Queen Street to King Street.
Cox noted Emo Coun. Scott Kinnear, who also sits on the rec council, spearheaded much of the celebration.
“He’s kind of been doing the big driving push to get something going in Emo for Canada Day,” she remarked.
Cox added the township also partnered with the Emo Legion, which she said has “been really great coming up with some of their own programming.”
The July 1 festivities will get underway under the tent at the tennis courts at noon, with the singing of “O Canada” and birthday cake.
The beer gardens, featuring a cash bar, also will open at noon.
The Emo Legion then will host a kids’ parade starting at 12:30 p.m.
“Kids don’t have to be on a bike—they can have strollers, wagons, anything that they want to parade on,” Cox stressed, noting no registration is required to take part.
“They can just show up at the Legion parking lot at 12:15 p.m. for judging,” she said, adding there will be prizes.
The kids will parade from the Legion and down Front Street, through the big tent, and up onto the stage—“if there’s anyone brave enough to get up there in front of everyone,” Cox smiled.
The Wicked Grill food truck will be on-site, dishing up a selection of gourmet burgers, from noon until midnight.
And from noon-4 p.m., the Emo/La Vallee/Chapple Fire Department will have its pumper truck out and also offer fire safety tips.
“What’s pretty exciting is we’ve got ‘Fun-Tastic Castles’ coming in from Thunder Bay and they are bringing four of their inflatables,” Cox enthused, noting they will be running from 1-4 p.m.
“One of them is a water slide, so it actually gets hooked up to a hose and has water coming down it,” she explained.
“Then another one they are bringing is a jousting unit, so that one will be better for older kids.”
There also will be a kids’ entertainment zone running from 1-5 p.m., with the township’s summer students staging a variety of activities.
“We’ll probably have a bubble station set up,” Cox noted. “And we’re looking for a face-painter, so if there’s anyone who would like to volunteer some face-painting time, that would be great.
“Otherwise, we’ll just have our summer students doing that, as well.”
The Lions Park and the Emo Spray Park, located just down the hill, will be available for families to use, as well.
Then from 5-6 p.m., the Emo Legion will be offering up a New York strip steak dinner for $17 a plate, which includes baked potato, salads, dessert, and coffee/tea.
“They are also going to have a kids’ meal option available at a cheaper rate, too,” Cox said.
Meanwhile, there will be entertainment going on under the tent.
The “Nite Hawks” will play from 2-6 p.m., then “Thinking of Pinky” will take the stage from 8 p.m. until midnight, although they’ll be taking a break during the fireworks.
The fireworks will be launched along the river at dusk, with the Legion raffle draw taking place under the tent.
“People seem to be really excited for it,” Cox enthused.
“Emo has never really done anything big for Canada Day so it seems that people are pretty receptive to it.
“We’ve tried to include something for people of all ages so hopefully it draws out a big crowd,” she added.
Cox noted the event is free, with some funding being provided from the federal government through the “Celebrate Canada” grant, with funding also from the rec council and donations from local businesses.
She added she’s hoping Mother Nature will co-operate.
“We do not have a contingency plan if it rains,” she stressed. “We have the tent, so the bands will still be a go under the tent and the inflatables can still run as long as it is just a light drizzle.
“The water slide can run even if it’s raining.
“We’re hoping for a fun-filled day,” Cox added.
“We’ll hopefully get a nice big crowd out there so we can build on it for next year.”
If anyone wants to get involved, or has other ideas for the Canada Day celebrations, contact Cox at the municipal office.