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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Cruisin' in Chatham, zooming up, up and way in Tillsonburg and living life on the edge at the CN Tower in Toronto

   One-Tank Trip for May 21/11
Hundreds of classic cars and hot rods will be cruising into downtown Chatham for Retrofest
  (c) By Jim Fox

   It’s time to start your engines, go up, up and away, and live life on the edge.
   Make it happen at Retrofest in Chatham, with the Harvards in Tillsonburg and EdgeWalk at the CN Tower in Toronto.

   Cruisin’ main in Chatham
   Retrofest roars back for its ninth year in Chatham next weekend (May 27-29) for a classic car and motorcycle outpouring of nostalgia on wheels.

   Things shift into gear Friday at 7 p.m. for the Classic Car Cruise Night as hundreds of hot rods, vintage cruisers and motorcycles rumble into downtown Chatham from Union Gas at 50 Keil Drive N.

   Andre Lavigne and his robot collection made from vintage car parts, many of them towering two-metres tall, will be at Zonta Park.
   There is also a free showing of the movie American Graffiti in the historic Capitol Theatre starting at 8:30 p.m.
   The festival originally began as the 25th anniversary celebration for RM Classic Cars, one of the top restoration and auto auction companies, based in Chatham-Kent.
   Next Saturday is the big day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the Kent Historic Auto Club’s show of some 600 vehicles “born in 1991 or before.”
   There are vintage bikes along with oldie riders at the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame exhibit in the Downtown Chatham Centre (also on Friday).
   Other events include entertainer Kobbler Jay, the Eccentric Juggler, the robots and “food and fun for the entire family.”
   The food includes deep-fried cheesecake, kettle corn, Mr. Pickle’s pack of famous pickles, hot dogs, hamburgers, sausages, funnel cakes, fresh-cut fries and pulled pork.
   On Sunday (May 29), Retrofest activities move to Duke’s Harley-Davidson and the neighbouring RM Classic Car Exhibit of some 60 rare and valuable vehicles, where there’s two-for-one admission ($8.50) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
   Duke’s Retrofest Party, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., has the robots along with local bands Blueswraith and King Friday Rocks.
  RM and Duke’s are on Classic Car Drive near the intersection of Highway 401 and Highway 40. www.retrofestchatham.com; www.cktourism.com; (519) 352-8387.

   Look, up in the sky

   Nostalgia is also on the menu as the Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association holds its fly days at the Tillsonburg Airport.
   The event today, as well as on July 30 and Aug. 27 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., is an opportunity to view the fleet of historic Harvard trainers as they take to the skies.
   Visitors can book a crew ride in a Harvard or Tiger Moth biplane, visit the hangars, talk to the volunteers and enjoy a barbecue lunch.
   “Our mandate is to acquire, restore, maintain and display the great Canadian Harvard trainer and other aircraft associated with the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan of WWII,” said association director Bob Trowell.
   Along with helping to preserve the rich Canadian aviation heritage for future generations, this honours “all those who sacrificed so much for our freedom,” he added.
   The all-volunteer association started in 1985 at a small grass airstrip in Woodstock “from the dreams of a handful of Harvard lovers who were determined to keep the legend of the Harvard alive.”
   To reach the airport, travel south from Ingersoll on Highway 19, then turn left on Airport Road. www.harvards.com

   Feeling on top of the world

   Not for the faint of heart or those afraid of heights is EdgeWalk, a new “extreme attraction,” at Toronto’s CN Tower opening on Aug. 1 and continuing into October.
   This “first-of-its-kind” attraction in North America is on the world’s highest full-circle, hands-free walk on a 1.5-metre wide ledge.
   This wedge of a ledge encircles the top of the tower’s main pod at 356 metres or 116 stories above the ground.
   Thrill seekers will walk “hands-free” in groups of six to eight for 20 to 30 minutes while attached to an overhead safety rail via a trolley and harness system.
   Guides will encourage them to “push their personal limits, allowing those who dare to lean back over Toronto with nothing but air beneath them,” said tower publicist Irene Knight.
   It costs $175 and includes a “keepsake video, photo and certificate of achievement.” Tickets go on sale June 1. www.edgewalkcntower.ca


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