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Participants needed for Tillsonburg 150th parade

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The official Town of Tillsonburg 150th Anniversary celebration is dovetailing with Canada Day on July 1st, and it should be one of the town’s biggest holiday celebrations of the year.

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Canada Day morning kicks off at the Station Arts Centre on Bridge Street West with an 8-11 a.m. Pancake Breakfast.

The official 150th Anniversary opening ceremonies, between 11-11:20, also happen at Station Arts Centre, with local dignitaries and town crier Brenda Bozso.

Next is the Tillsonburg Legion Canada Day flag ceremony at the cenotaph at 12 p.m. followed (tentatively) by the 12:30-1:30 Tillsonburg and Area Optimist Club parade.

“We asked for a historically themed parade,” said Joan Weston from the 150th Anniversary committee, “and that could represent anything over 150 years of history. It could be anything from our Tillsonburg history – a tobacco-theme float, a sports team, a church float…”

What they really need is parade participants.

“We are looking for area people, groups and businesses to help us honour where we came from and our traditions,” wrote the Tillsonburg and Area Optimist Club on their Facebook page. “To participate email tillsonburgoptimistclub@gmail.com to discuss your idea and confirm your attendance in our parade. We are looking for old vehicles, farm equipment, walking groups, traditional attire and much, much more…”

“We’re hoping,” said Weston.

The Annandale National Historic Site 150th Fun Fair on the Annandale House front lawn (30 Tillson Ave) is 1:30-3 p.m.

The rest of the Canada Day 150th Anniversary events will be at Memorial Park from 3:30-10:30.

The Kids Zone is 3:30-7:30 p.m. with interactive activities, bouncy castles, corn hole, mini golf, dunk tank, and mini train rides.

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There will be a one-hour reptile show in the early evening.

The Tillsonburg Lions Club will have a barbecue, selling affordable family-friendly food.

At 4 p.m. the Tillsonburg and District Historical Society is doing a pillar dedication.

“We were going to do it three years ago,” said Weston, noting refurbishments were completed near the Lake Lisgar Water Park and grand entrance at Sanders Street.

There will be free Canada Day Tillsonburg 150th cake at the pillar dedication, as well as the Pancake Breakfast, Legion flag ceremony, and Annandale National Historic Site.

“Wherever there’s usually (Canada Day) cake, there’s cake,” Weston laughed.

The Tillsonburg Kinsmen Club beer tent opens in Memorial Park at 6 p.m.

There will be a 90-minute Whiskey Jack concert from 8-9:30 p.m. A country/bluegrass band, Whiskey Jack is known for its Stories & Songs of Stompin’ Tom tour, recordings from 1979-2019, and numerous television appearances.

“They have composed a new song for us to commemorate the event,” Weston noted.

To help promote Tillsonburg’s 150th, there will be ‘historical plaques’ featured in many downtown Tillsonburg stores with historical significance (frontage or interior) with more than 20 in total.

“They will be mounted in the windows with a QR code that will explain the businesses that have been in that particular location since 1872, as best we know.”

There will also be historically themed banners on Broadway starting in May.

“Six of them will be pictures of old buildings, one will be E.D. Tillson, and six will have the 150th logo fixed to the light standards downtown. They’re going to look really cool.

“So we’re really looking forward to celebrating 150 years of incorporation as a town… and if the population continues to go as it has, someday we could ask to be a city.”

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