In Crystal Beach this year. The announcement that the new Bay Beach public overhaul will include a playground, its equipment funded by members of the community through the efforts of the Friends of Crystal Beach and the Ridgeway Lions makes one appreciate the power of people determined to make their town better.
A funding opportunity turned into a celebration on Saturday night, December 8, 2018 at the Crystal Ridge Community Centre when Lion Casey Bruyns announced that the town was going ahead with the construction of a playground at Bay Beach because the goal of $85,000 towards the purchase of equipment was close to being achieved.
For over one hundred people, the Second Annual Spreading Christmas Cheer was a great chance to see friends and neighbours; enjoy a delicious roast beef dinner; listen to and sing holiday songs; and hear remarks by local politicians. And it all took place on a snowy night in a fabulously decorated hall.
Lion Bruce Schinkel and his team of Santa’s Kitchen Elves served up a scrumptious meal of roast beef, gravy, mashed potatoes, vegetables, rolls and salad to the hungry folks. Holiday decorated cupcakes topped off the meal. Coffee and tea were included as well.
Each table had been carefully decorated by event organizer Gayle Martineau and her hard-working crew. Poinsettia plants centered each table (later won by one person at the table) while song sheets and candy canes invited dinners to settle in for a lovely evening.
For the second year, the talented Sherkston Trinity Singers enchanted and delighted attendees with thoughtful and beautiful Christmas music. Mayor Redekop, complete with his blinking coloured lights Chain of Office, sang along with the group on stage and no one heard a false note from him – or anyone else. The audience was pressed into participating in singing “The Twelve Days of Christmas” Each table had a “day” to sing about. Some were more enthusiastic than others, adding to the general hilarity of the attempt.
Ward 5 Councillor, Donnie Lubberts emceed the event and it was soon time to hear from local lawmakers – Our Two Waynes: Redekop and Gates. Mayor Redekop praised the community effort of the Friends of Crystal Beach and the Ridgeway Lions, of which he is a long-time member, for working together to achieve something beneficial to the community. MPP Gates hoped that everyone would use this season to give to others. He had spent a busy day visiting the many holiday events that occurred in his riding and he was set to appear at another later in the evening.
A busy time for everyone and Gates’ timely message about giving was not lost on those in attendance. The Ridgeway Lions, with the food donated by the FOCB, hosted a family turkey dinner on Monday, December 17, 2019 at the Crystal Ridge Community Centre for anyone who wished to enjoy a community meal. It was attended by well over 150 people and organizers are grateful for all the assistance received in the effort.
Following the speeches by Fort Erie Mayor Wayne Redekop and MPP Wayne Gates, Lion Casey Bruyns detailed the fundraising efforts so far towards the playground at the Bay Beach public beach. He stated that $44,000. of the funds had come from the Lions’ sale of paving stones which will be placed on the walkways in the park. They will be imprinted with the names or words requested by the stones’ donors. They can still be purchased through Lion Ron Brunner (905-894-2705) for $50. – $250. depending on size. The sale of the stones will end this year on December 24.They can make a great and unique Christmas gift or remembrance of a loved one. In conclusion, he stated that the playground is a “go” and that the goal is within reach.
Door prizes and draws winners were announced. Door prizes were donated by local businesses: Brodies Drug Store, Boggio and Edwards Drug Store, Joe’s Val-u-Mart, The Mill, Lasting Impressions, and Cornerstone Vintage Furnishings.
Many thanks to Gayle Martineau and her team: Don Lubberts, Ray Rivard, Larry Rivard, Heather McGowan and Shirley Grace. Once again, the Friends of Crystal Beach helped put on a first class event.