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Pontiac residents gathered on Thursday night on the Shawville Fairgrounds to celebrate Canada Day with a barbecue and car rally, allowing people to have some form of community celebration despite the unusual circumstances this year.

Despite a rainy start, the barbecue kicked off at 4 p.m., and cars started getting sent out on the rally shortly before 5 p.m. The event was hosted by the Pontiac Agricultural Society (PAS).

The car rally featured clues such as, “At stop sign on Lang/Campbell, turn left. What colour is the bike?” and “What is not allowed in the Maple Grove cemetery?”

The winners of the rally were: Cindy Smiley, Sara Graveline, Kaara Brown, McKenna Richardson and Erika Richardson. As a reward, all five were given passes to the 2021 Shawville Fair.

Entry to the competition was $5, and while a chunk of the money from the barbecue went into covering expenses along with the rally, there was also a percentage of barbecue money that went into a separate cause.

“A portion of the proceeds will be given to the Parents’ Voice, which is an organization here in town,” said Sara McCann-Richardson, general manager of the PAS. “Shelley [Heaphy] and Alina [Holmes] are part of the Parents’ Voice, so a percentage of the proceeds will go to them, just so we can give back to an organization, because we’re all affected because of COVID so it’s nice to be able to just give back.”

Heaphy was there with her children, and she was happy to be there for their first barbecue of the summer. She said that normally the barbecues would have been a weekly occurrence starting in May were it not for COVID-19.

McCann-Richardson said that her team of organizers got good feedback from residents. She added that the PAS board of directors formed a committee to come up with these kinds of events for the remainder of the summer to help make up for the Shawville Fair’s cancellation.

There was also a 50/50 draw held, and the winner, Elwyn Lang, donated his prize money to the Parents’ Voice.

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