Brussels 150th Homecoming celebration unites the community
BY DENNY SCOTT
The Village of Brussels marked its 150th anniversary homecoming over the weekend with five days of special events starting Thursday night and stretching through to Monday’s Civic Holiday.
The event is being called a success both by organizers and the community, and that’s thanks to significant effort being put forward by organizers and volunteers, according to Homecoming Committee Co-Chair Dan Fritz.
Fritz, who was also an advisor for the bar sub-committee, said that everything went well throughout the weekend, and that there were no major concerns.
“Everything I’ve heard on the weekend has been really positive,” he said. “People are saying there was something for everyone, and [people were] especially happy about the events for the kids and the seniors. People really enjoyed themselves from what I’m hearing.”
There were minor challenges to overcome, he said, but everything seemed to go according to plan.
“The group we had worked well, and with the volunteers we had, most things went as expected,” he said.
Because of the volunteers, Fritz said the event went smoothly and was actually less stressful than it could have been.
“It was really stressful for two-and-a-half years with COVID-19, but the last two months of planning ended up being more stressful than the weekend itself,” he said. “I think things went really well.”
Fritz went on to say the homecoming wouldn’t have been what it was without the volunteers and committee members who all took time to make it happen.
“It wouldn’t happen without them,” he said.
Fritz said the Masked Singer event was probably his favourite part of the weekend, and he wasn’t alone in that according to organizer Jodi Houston.
“I’ve had people say it was the event of the homecoming, which is not what we expected,” she said. “I thought it would be a fun filler for the middle of the day, but we had the tent filled with people of all ages.”
Spider-Man was the winning singer, she said, though it wasn’t Peter Parker behind the mask but Pete Albers, who was performing to raise money for the Blyth Brussels Minor Hockey Association (BBMHA).
“It was great, and so well attended,” Houston said. “We didn’t know what to expect - we’ve never done anything like that before.”
Albers and his fellow competitors were tasked with keeping their identities a secret, and he was the only one to stay incognito until the end of the show. As a result, the BBMHA received just under $1,400, Houston said.
Albers performed songs by the Tragically Hip and John Michael Montgomery, among others.
When the sub-committee started planning the event, Houston said they didn’t know how it would go over, but by the time of the homecoming they had a cadre of contestants as well as a sound system donated by Dave and Karen Smith, and a professional karaoke performer to help the contestants out.
“It was amazing,” Houston said. “We had a production company here, and we weren’t sure what to expect, but they were blown away by what we had.”
The parade was also well attended, Fritz said.
Aside from providing a great opportunity for local businesses and groups to connect with the community, the parade subcommittee also recognized a number of participants with prizes, including, in order of finishing:
• Best Commercial/Business Floats: Fretz Welding, Hemingway Aviation and Bachert Excavating.
• Service Group/Club/Sports Team: Brussels Horticultural Society, the Walton Wrangler Hockey Team and the Jamestown Ball Team.
• Best Antique Vehicle/Tractor: Don McNeil, Royce and Wilma Bauer, Peter and Terri Grey.
• Walking/Bicycle/Children’s Wagon: Val E Joy, Larry Rutledge and Armstrong Aerodrome Family.
• Horsedrawn Wagon/Horse and Rider: LouDon Acres and Becca Kooiman
Other winners from the weekend are as follows:
• Trivia Night: Team Thomas
• Fire Department Ball Game: Grey Fire Hall
• Business Decorating: The 5Rs - A Community Thrift Shop
• Residential Decorating: Randy and Donna White, Rose Kellington and Terri Gray.
• Soap Box Car Raffle: Jason Armstrong
• Ball Hockey Tournament: U11 - The Bullets. U13 - Quick with a Stick
• Alumni Fastball Game: Walton Brewers 10-8 over the Brussels Tigers
• Sand Castle Competition: Six and under: Tucker and Ellie WIlson and Hannah Ballantyne. Group: The Green Machine and Star Fish. Individual: Lincoln Laffin.
• Men’s Fastball Game: Brussels Tigers over Walton Brewers 6-2
• Masked Singer Competition: Spider-Man (Pete Albers)
• Lumberjack Contest: Male 25 and under (in order of finish): Jordan Hubbard, Mike VanWyck and Josh Gibbons. Female 25 and under: Taylor Juby. Men 26-50: Jesse Rapson, Brody TenPas and Brenden Stretton. Women 26-50: Ammamieka Kerkhof, Cassie Fischer and Megan Dolmage. Men Over 50: Rick White, Jerry Bremner and Murray Bremner. Women: Mary Anne Thompson and Donna White.
• Soap Box Derby: Boys and Girls 6-8: Nolan Lyons and Olivia Engel. Boys/Girls 9-11: London Dejong, Emilia Kellington and Landry McDonald. Boys and Girls 12-13: Bryton Franken.
• Slo-Pitch Tournament: The Ainleyville Outlaws.
• Optimist 50/50 Draw: Jenna Baker.
• Canoe Race: The Knight Riders (Curt and Warren Knight)
• Bathtub Race: Tub Thumpers (Steve Silcock and Garrett Knight)
• Lions Duck Race winners: Harold Harkaren ($2,500); Janelle Cardiff ($1,000); BJ Finlay ($500); Mercedes Sheppard, Barbara Cadotte, Julie Harrison, Molly Vincent and Erich Ekert ($100); Mary Bernard, Brian Grasby, Don McNeil, Nick McArter, Bonnie Lindsay ($50) and last place went to Georgia, Charlotte and Curtis Mutter with a prize of $250..
• Minor Ball/Soccer Raffle: Helicopter Ride - Tim Machan, Blyth Cowbell Brewing Gift Certificate - Diane Warwick and Homecoming Swag Pack - Julie Harrison.
See pages XX-XX for photos of the homecoming events.