All current and former Fergus residents are being invited to come home to the town at the end of June for a special long weekend to celebrate the town’s 175th anniversary.
“Tell your family – tell your friends – tell anyone who’s moved out of the area. This is the time to come back to town for a spectacular party,” said Fergus 175 steering committee chairman Mary Lloyd.
The committee has been working for months to put together a schedule of events over five days, starting June 27 and culminating in the traditional 6pm Canada Day events in Fergus.
“There’s something for everyone to see and do that weekend – and we’re hoping people will plan on coming home to Fergus to be with friends and relatives and take part in what’s being planned as well,” Lloyd said.
Events officially kick off on June 27 with a unique Rolling Down the River evening event where beach balls, the Grand River, and the crowd combine to get the 175th anniversary weekend started with a splash.
June 28 features two signature events. The Fergus BIA’s Summer Sensations Art Walk will bring dozens of artists and artisans to the heritage downtown for a street art show that will take visitors through historic Templin Gardens and on a promenade through the downtown shopping district.
Doors Open Fergus features a dozen or more historic public buildings that are opening their doors to the public for the first time. Churches, an historic pumphouse, the Wellington County Museum and Archives, and Fergus’s heritage downtown are all stops on the self-guided, free-admission tour.
On June 29, the focus turns to music, with an afternoon family-oriented concert of local bands and performers in Victoria Park. In the early evening, a succession of local teen and youth bands take to the stage. Sunday begins with an early-morning interdenominational church service at the cenotaph in Fergus.
At the Grand River Raceway on the evening of June 30, there will be a special night of horse racing that will include a Fergus 175 race.
July 1 features the traditional Dominion Day celebration in nearby Elora, and the evening fireworks performance and park events held at the Centre Wellington Community Sportsplex in Fergus.
More events are being planned and added to the schedule by a group of volunteers – and by a host of community groups that are getting involved in creating a year of sensational events to celebrate the community milestone.
In honour of the 175th anniversary, the Fergus Legion presented the renowned RCMP Musical Ride on Tuesday, a troop of 32 mounted police officers who perform skilled riding movements and thrilling formations to a musical background.
“It’s going to be a fantastic weekend,” Lloyd said. “We want everyone to come out and enjoy the fun, get together with old friends, reminisce about Fergus – and have a great time.”
Many of the weekend’s events are free – thanks in part to the generosity of community groups and a number of corporate sponsors getting together to make this a wonderful party for everyone involved.
The 175th anniversary year got underway with a chilly but magical Fergus First Night, on New Year’s Eve, that drew hundreds of people to downtown to ring in the New Year.
And later this year, there are plans for a fall event that are still being finalized, to close off the birthday year.