The Windsor Star
From muskets and cannons to beauty queens and stilt walkers, the Amherstburg War of 1812 bicentennial parade ended with a cheering crowd and confetti in the street.
Thousands, who lined Dalhousie Street from Pickering Street to Fort Malden, applauded the marching bands, Native dancers and decorated horses.
The hard work of 300 volunteers did not go unnoticed as spectators commended the hour-long “impressive” show.
“It was fantastic, especially for a small town,” Amy Soucie of Amherstburg said while standing with her husband, two kids and mother-in-law.
Ava, 2, and Isabelle, 4, were especially thrilled with the horses, stilt-walkers and costumed dogs, they said.
“And mom and grandma liked the men in uniforms,” Soucie’s husband Mike chimed in.
Anne Rota, manager of Amherstburg tourism and culture, was elated with the Roots to Boots Festival turn out. The $400,000, price tag was paid mostly by grants from the provincial Trillium Foundation, Heritage Canada and regional donors.
She estimates 10,000 people attended the parade.
“It’s indescribable,” she said in between snapping photos and cheering on passing floats. “200 years of peace and The War of 1812 really is the reason why we are Canadian. Had we not won the war we would be flying a different flag today.”
The parade kicked off a slew of 1812 events including an original stage musical by Theatre Intrigue Society; historical scenes performed by Provincial Marine and First Nations re-enactors; concerts by Juno-winner Chantal Kreviazuk, Ashley MacIsaac and several Windsor folksingers; a display of mural paintings by students of General Amherst high school; art displays at two galleries; tall ship appearances; historic cricket matches, and various guest speakers and readers at the public library.
The celebration four years in the making started Friday and ends Sunday at 8 p.m.
Rota was almost brought to tears by the “amazing” response.
“It’s just very patriotic and I think people here today are full of civic pride,” she said as she looked around at Canadian flags waving in hands and sticking out of hats.
A Tavern on the River on Dalhousie and Murray Street will feature period food and drink.
Executive Chef Mike Jimmerfield of St. Clair College Centre for the Arts said the menu was inspired by food the soldiers ate with native influences.
Until 11 p.m. tonight and 8 p.m. Sunday he will be cooking chicken and salt pork with wild rice, salmon with corn, beans and squash, and short ribs with potato and carrots.
Chantal Kreviazuk performs Saturday at 8 p.m. with local singer Pat Robitaille opening the show.
Tickets are still available at 519-730-1309 or ticketweb.ca.
The following is a list of some remaining events:
1 p.m., Historic cricket matches, Wigle Field; First Nations dances, Toddy Jones Park (behind General Amherst); Naahi performance, King’s Navy Yard; Chief Tecumseh speech by actor David Morris, town square (also 4 p.m.); Gone Wrong, performance of 1812era songs, Tavern on the River, King’s Navy Yard (also 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.);
1: 30 p.m., Historian Dennis Carter Edwards, General Amherst high school;
2 p.m., Free horse and buggy rides; children’s storytelling at Toddy Jones Park; Skirmish on the River re-enactment by members of Provincial Marine, King’s Navy Yard; Reflections of 1812, songs by local artists at King’s Navy Yard;
3 p.m., Diplomats Drum and Bugle Corps, Toddy Jones Park; Allison Brown, folk songs at King’s Navy Yard (also 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.);
4 p.m., Cat’s Meow Dance Studio performance, Toddy Jones Park;
7 p.m. Performance by Windsor’s Pat Robitaille, General Brock stage, Fort Malden;
8 p.m. Performance by Chantal Kreviazuk, General Brock stage, Fort Malden;
9 a.m. Canadiana Breakfast, Toddy Jones Park; tall ship tours;
10: 30 a.m., 1812-era church service at Christ Church, 317 Ramsey St.;
11 a.m., Children’s Heritage Marquee, activities for children and families, Toddy Jones Park;
12 p.m., all-day song and dance performances, buggy rides, from King’s Navy Yard;
2 p.m., Capture of the Cayuga, re-enactment by Provincial Marine, King’s Navy Yard;
3: 30 p.m., Spirit of a Nation performance, Fort Malden;
4 to 6 p.m., Performances by Dale Butler, David and Sharon Light and Ron Leary, King’s Navy Yard;
6 p.m., Closing ceremonies, featuring re-enactment of Gen. Brock’s Landing at Wheatley in 1812;
6: 15 to 8 p.m., Performances by Ron Leary, Leighton Bain and The Walkervilles, King’s Navy Yard.
All events are free, except for the Kreviazuk concert where tickets are going for $28 each.
For more details on any of the events, go to the website, 1812amherstburg.com/rootstoboots, or call the town’s tourism office at 519-730-1309.