Fun times in the Before Times—riders gallop on the carousel in 2019, the last fair before the pandemic. SUPPLIED

May 27-29 weekend includes fireworks

Pelham kids will turn out in full force the weekend of May 27 through 29, which marks the return of the Fabulous Fenwick Lions Parade and Carnival, replete with midway rides, games, and a fireworks spectacle.

The annual event was cancelled in 2020 and 2121 due to the pandemic.

The Parade starts at 7 PM on Friday May 27. Parade participants will be marshalled at 6 PM at Bethany Christian Reformed Church on Balfour Street. The route winds through the village of Fenwick and finishes at Centennial Park on Church Street, the site of the carnival, which opens at 5 PM Friday. The carnival opens at noon on Saturday and Sunday.

There is no admission fee to get into the park. The fireworks show and parking are also no charge. Rides require a ticket purchase, and food is available to buy on-site.

Outdoor event Covid protocols are in place. Face masks are at the discretion of those attending, and hand sanitation stations will be available beside the washrooms at the park.

Bert Marissen, this year’s carnival committee chair and a veteran of 22 years with the club, said that the events are a long-time tradition of the Fenwick Lions, and are not designated as club fundraisers, but simply to recoup costs from the weekend.

“It’s our way of giving back to the community we love, as a gift,” Marissen told the Voice. “I’m not exactly sure how long the carnival has been running, but it was definitely around in the 1970s. I moved into town in 1980, emigrating from Holland, and it was already an annual then.”

Magical Midways of Toronto bring in about a dozen mechanized rides for the kids, which are especially busy on Saturday. Red Boss Fireworks and Pyrotechnical Services of Fenwick illuminate the sky that evening, said Marissen. Red Boss has been handling the display for the past decade.

The Fenwick Lions have a membership of 43, and most will be on deck during the weekend, along with a group of recruited volunteers.

“A lot of Lions Clubs are struggling a bit with membership, trying to draw in a younger crowd of volunteers,” said Marissen. “But our club has been fortunate, and we’ve been able to attract quite a few younger guys, which helps make our club vibrant and energetic.”

Marissen said that there will be a plant auction on Saturday afternoon, thanks to local nurseries and greenhouses that have donated plants.

“Our biggest challenge this year is dealing with the parade and carnival budget,” said Marissen. “The cost of everything has gone way up. Fireworks are up 40 percent, and insurance for the events is probably up 50 percent.”

The Lions approached local businesses for event donations, and were thankful that John Langendoen of Willowbrook Nurseries came on board as a major sponsor.

The main annual fundraiser for the Fenwick Lions is a classic car show and car raffle, held in September, with a red 1965 Chevelle Malibu the prize this year.

“We went entirely online with ticket sales this time ‘round,” said Marissen. “The car raffle normally raises over $40,000 for our various causes, but with the online sales, we are hoping to more than double that total.”

This is the fifth vintage Chevy that the Lions have featured in a raffle. In earlier, times, the prize was a $50,000 Harley-Davidson motorcycle.