Festival of Giving will relive MTV days from 1980s

If you are near the John D. Bradley Centre on April 18, you might get a 1980s flashback.

Omar Alakel, 20, impressed dance partner Evan Barrett, 17, as does a back flip during a break dancing demonstration held at Sons of Kent Brewing in Chatham on Friday as part of the announcement that the theme for this year's Festival of Giving is 'I want my MTV.' (Ellwood Shreve/Chatham Daily News)

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If you are near the John D. Bradley Centre on April 18, you might get a 1980s flashback.

That’s because the popular Festival of Giving will be featuring “I Want My MTV” as this year’s theme for the 19th annual fundraising event.

“We find that musical themes resonate with people and people know what to wear. … They got a mindset of what it’s going to be all about and that helps a lot,” said festival co-chair Chris McLeod.

Tim Regan, the other festival co-chair, said organizers can’t wait to celebrate “one of the most colourful decades in history.”

Tickets for the Festival of Giving can be purchased online at www.gigitmarketplace.com.

The primary benefactor of the festival is the Children’s Treatment Centre Foundation of Chatham-Kent, the fundraising arm of the Children’s Treatment Centre, which provides a wide range of services, including occupational therapy and speech pathology, to area children.

Regan said the fundraiser is averaging about $250,000, and “we’re looking to hit that this year as well.”

The theme was revealed in conjunction with Sons of Kent Brewing Company company announcing that $17,392.50 has been raised so far from the proceeds of sales from the Fergie Jenkins Pilsner.

“The proceeds of every sale from the LCBO to the bars and restaurants in Chatham to the brewery, anywhere any person has bought the Fergie Jenkins Pilsner by Sons of Kent has donated to the Children’s Treatment Centre Foundation, which has been awesome,” said Colin Chrysler, a co-founder of the brewery.

Fellow co-founder Tim Copeland said Jenkins was on board with the sudsy tribute from the beginning.

“As true supporter of our community, Fergie … really wanted to ensure proceeds from the beer were going to the treatment centre,” Copeland said.

The Apollo Group of Companies also jumped in to match the donation by Sons of Kent.

Company president Fred Naclerio said he and his wife Michelle “believe in the great work that the Children’s Treatment Centre does, so being a part of a local endeavour with Sons of Kent to raise money for the centre is something we want to support.”

Chrysler said the donation from the sale of Fergie beer will continue to climb since some of the more than 44,000 cans that have been sold across Ontario are still available at the brewery.

He added there is still some Fergie beer on tap at the Cascades Casino in Chatham, which also contributes to the fundraising total.

This is the 19th Festival of Giving event, which began in a church basement by current Chatham-Kent Mayor Darrin Canniff.

“It was all team work. I look around and see a lot of people here from Day 1 or who jumped aboard (later),” said Canniff.

The event went to the next level when Canniff joined forces with Mike Grail, current chair of the Children’s Treatment Centre Foundation, who also credits the tireless work of volunteers for making the festival a success.

“We’ve developed an amazing committee with (the Festival of Giving) that continues to stay with us year after year after year,” he said.

Grail said the fesitval has become the signature event on the local calendar that people look forward to attending.

He said the benefit is “how we’ve allowed every child in this community the chance to fulfill their highest potential in their life.”

eshreve@postmedia.com

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