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Amherstburg band part of entertainment at Essex Fun Fest

Updated: Jul 10

Wrestlers perform at Essex Fun Fest

The 35th Essex Fun Fest was held this past weekend and once again, it had something for all ages throughout the four-day event.

Entertainment was one of the featured attractions and organizers of the town’s biggest annual festival were able to bring in both global acts as well as some very well-known local musicians.

Among those were Amherstburg’s own Harbouring Illusions which performed on the main stage Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.

Special head-lining guests for this year’s Fun Fest were Canadian rock legends Honeymoon Suite. Tecumseh’s Carson Janik, along with Redferrin, British Beat 66 John Thomas Band and the CIAO Band, were just a few of the other acts.

“We are proud to be on the same stage as them (Honeymoon Suite). We never thought we would go this far, this fast,” said Harbouring Illusions guitarist James Ouellette.

The band just celebrated its first anniversary as a group and are already working on their second album. When performing, they combine classic rock along with some of their originals.

“The bands we cover? I like two songs by the Black Keys and we do a Beatles song, Come Together. I am open to a lot of things,” said drummer Jerome Baldwin.

The Amherstburg band “Harbouring Illusions” were among the entertainment at the Essex Fun Fest. From left: Jerome Baldwin, James Ouellette, Shelby Kawa, Dustin O’Neil, Darek Kawa.

Fronting the band is Amherstburg resident Shelby Kawa who, when not teaching secondary school English, is a song writer and helped pen their latest single, Autumn Nights.

“The band started with my husband and my son and me. I wrote a bunch of songs and we started gigging and before long we recorded,” said Kawa.

Her husband Darek Kawa plays guitar and pretty much manages the group and puts together the overall show. Their son no longer plays and recently they added talented keyboardist Dustin O’Neil.

Besides musical entertainment, this year’s Essex Fun Fest had a car show that stretched from one end of the redesigned main street to the other on Friday night.

Thursday night featured a Taylor Swift cover singer along with probably the weekend’s best attended event, the third annual Sip N’Shop mixer hosted by the Essex BIA.

Essex Energizer Skipping Team, Border City Wrestling, Four Paws Dog Show, Off Kilter Equine Entertainment, Krusher BMX Professional Stunt Team and Saturday night fireworks were all part of the fun.

Saturday morning saw the streets lined with parade watchers and later in the day former Essex Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche was honoured as the Citizen of the Year.

By Fred Groves


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