Grand Bend Winter Carnival Guide – Saddle up, Buckaroos!

‘Benguin Goes Wild West’ for 2008 Grand Bend Winter Carnival

By Casey Lessard

Grand Bend’s 22nd Winter Carnival launches February 1 and runs two weekends at venues around town.
“It’s about getting the community as a whole doing stuff together in the shoulder season,” says committee chair Lynda Hillman-Rapley. “This is my second year as chair, but I’ve been to all 21 carnivals. People respond very well. That’s how we got Ontario Lottery and Gaming; someone from their organization was here last year and they thought it was great so they wanted to sponsor it.”
Hillman-Rapley wants to point out that no matter the weather, the show will go on.
“No snow, no problem,” she says. “Whether there’s snow or not, this carnival happens, and the parade is huge. Jim Southcott does an amazing job.”
She also praises her team of organizers.
“Our committee is the best of the best. We all work together; no decisions are made without everybody doing it.”

Here is the full list of events for the weekend:

For the kids:

Friday, February 1
6 to 9 p.m. – Grand Bend School gym
Sobey’s drive-in for the kids (free)

Saturday, February 2
12 to 5 p.m. – Grand Bend School gym
Mad Science plus crafts, sports and a movie. Free. Call 519-238-1155.

6 to 8 p.m. – Skateboard park beside Legion
First-ever Winter Carnival fireworks. Hot chocolate and hot dogs for sale.

Sunday February 3
10 a.m. – Grand Bend Legion
Youth Darts. Call 519-243-2452.

12 to 2 p.m. – Oakwood #8 hole and clubhouse
Free tobogganing, s’mores & hot chocolate. Parents or guardians must supervise their children.
Oakwood Inn
Registration closes for February 10 Children’s Talent Show (free). Register at Guest Services before February 3.

Saturday, February 9
1 p.m. – downtown
Rotary Club Parade. See adults section for details.

Sunday, February 10
12 to 2 p.m. – Oakwood clubhouse
Children’s Talent Show (free). Register at Guest Services before February 3. Sing, dance, play – bring your original ideas to win prizes! Prizes for 1st, 2nd, & 3rd.
“We just want to have the kids come out and do their dancing or singing,” says Diana Simpson of Oakwood Inn Resort. “When they register they’ll have to say what they’ll be doing. We have a lot of talent in the area, and it’s a great way for them to get out and show people what they can do.”

Friday, February 1
4 to 10 p.m. – Bikini Bob’s
Western wine tasting

5 to 7 p.m. – Grand Bend Legion
Meat draw

9 p.m. – Oakwood clubhouse
Traci Kennedy

9:30 p.m. – Bikini Bob’s
Mike’s Country Band

10 p.m. to 2 a.m. – Gables

Saturday February 2
9 a.m. to end of day each weekend – Lions Park (behind Legion)
Gables co-ed snow-pitch tournament (runs Feb. 2 & 3, 9 & 10). $150 per team. Top prize is $300. Contact Jane or John Musser: 238-6690.
Snow-pitch is slo-pitch with fluorescent orange balls (the balls are softer as well). The tournament happens regardless of the weather. Each weekend sees eight teams compete for semi-finals, and the final is the second weekend. Winners from both weekends must be available for second weekend championship game. Teams that win at least two games win money. “It’s a favourite,” says Jane Musser. “It’s pretty funny watching them hit a ball and run in their snow pants.”

10 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Oakwood
Snow-golf. Cost: $15 per person includes golf (club &ball), chili with bun and hot chocolate. Call 519-238-2324 to register your tee-time.
“We have a special nine-hole tire ring golf course,” says Diana Simpson of Oakwood Inn Resort. “You use a tennis ball and a regular iron, and go around the course.”

1 to 8 p.m. – Riverbend
12th Annual Olympics. Call 519-238-6919 to register.

2 to 6 p.m. – Gables
Karaoke with Fat Kat Karaoke Bobbie. Prizes.

6 to 8 p.m. – Skateboard park (beside Grand Bend Legion)
First-ever Winter Carnival fireworks. Hot chocolate and hot dogs for sale. Seating at the ball diamond; parking at the Colonial and Beer Store parking lots. Legion lot will be closed for safety reasons. Four teams of professional fireworks artists from across Ontario will each present 12 to 15 minutes of fireworks using consumer fireworks. A pyro-digital display set to music will be performed during judging.
“By having the competitors use consumer fireworks, we are able to bring the audience closer to the action and create a more intimate show” says organizer Kevin Poole. Storm date is Saturday February 9th at 6:30 p.m.

Grand Bend Legion
Brad Karel and the Thrillbillies with Grand Bend’s Stephanie McClennan. Dance to new country. Presented by Grand Bend Legion and the Winter Carnival. For tickets, call 238-2001. Sponsored in whole by Ontario Lottery and Gaming.

9 p.m. – Oakwood clubhouse
Traci Kennedy

9 p.m. to close – Riverbend
Karaoke with Jude

9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. – Bikini Bob’s
Mike’s Country Band

10 p.m. to 2 a.m. – Gables

Sunday, February 3
1 to 5 p.m. – Gables
Wild West ride: try out the Mechanical Bull. Cheer the cowboys on. Sponsored by 104.9 The Beach.

Bikini Bobs
Super Bowl party. Crazy cow contest at 6 p.m. $3 food and beverages all day.

4 p.m. – Oakwood
Super Bowl party – door prizes and special drink prices!

Saturday February 9
1 p.m. – downtown
Rotary Club Parade. “It’s going to be a humdinger, for sure,” says parade organizer Jim Southcott. “The parade starts at the Sobey’s parking lot and goes down to Government Road and disbands there. There is a $500 first prize award for the best entry. Local dignitaries will lead the parade, and we have about 60 registered floats with a chance for many more. There will be a lot of horses, plus the Seaforth and District all-girls marching band. Anyone who wants to showcase their business or put in an entry should call me (519-238-8800).”

9 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Pine Dale Motor Inn
Craft Sale. All vendors are welcome.

Search for Talent Contest with Fat Kat Karaoke Bobbie

11:30 a.m. – United Church
UCW Lunch. $6 for 13 and up; $3 for children. Hot dogs available for children.

2 to 4 p.m. – Bikini Bobs
Sleigh rides after the parade. $5/person; free for children five and under.

3 to 6 p.m. – Gables
Search for Talent contest with “Fat Kat Karaoke Bobbie.”

5 to 8 p.m. – Grand Bend Legion
Steak BBQ. Tickets available at Legion. 519-238-2120.

8 p.m. – Oakwood Huron Room
Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Show with Joanna Downey and Bobby Keele. Cost: $20 per person includes tax. Call 519-238-2324. Buffet dinner (seatings between 5 and 7 p.m.) & show together for only $50 including tax & gratuity.

9 p.m. – Oakwood clubhouse
Entertainment by Murray Andrews

9 p.m. to close – Riverbend
Kountry Karaoke Contest with Jude

10 p.m. – Oakwood Huron Room
Ms. and Mr. Winter Carnival Pageant Prizes for 1st, 2nd & 3rd. Call Diana Simpson at 519-238-2324 for details. “We were looking for something different this year,” Simpson says. “We’re challe
nging all businesses in the area to send someone to represent them in the contest. There are three different rounds: a fashion round with one summer and one winter outfit of their choice; a talent round where the contestants perform a talent of their choice; and a questionnaire round where the contestants answer questions related to the winter carnival.” All contestants will be in the pageant float in the parade Saturday morning.

Sunday February 10
8 to 11 a.m. – behind Bank of Montreal
Grand Bend Firemen’s Breakfast

11 a.m. – Grand Bend Legion
Veteran’s Memorial Mixed Dart Tournament. Register at 11 a.m.

2 to 5 p.m. – Colonial parking lot
Waiters’ Race

For more information, call the Grand Bend Chamber of Commerce: 519-238-2001