One-man band
Charlie the Kid was one of the many performers to keep the music going during the Russell Legion’s Parking Lot Party on Saturday. Van Dusen photo

RUSSELL – Other than the weather, wasn’t that a party – a parking lot party, to be precise – last Saturday at the Russell Legion!

All 400 tickets sold out at $20 each, raising $8,000 off the top before expenses, which accumulated beyond original estimates largely because of the rainy weather.

The weather simply didn’t cooperate, with repeated downpours throughout the day. Organizers ordered two more tents at the last minute to shelter patrons, cutting into profits earmarked for major renovations at Branch 372, including a new roof and two new rooftop air conditioners.

Along with some interior repairs, the Legion executive is looking at a bill of about $80,000, said president Jeff O’Neil who also heads the events and entertainment committee. His organizational right-hand-man was Hugh Slater who noted that, because of the weather, much of the returns will be absorbed in setup costs, leaving bar revenues to dedicate to the cause.

But at least everybody had fun, both men noted, stating that the good vibe could lead to other contributions including support of the current draw for a $15,000 travel voucher. Only 2,000 tickets will be sold at $20 each, with the winner to be picked Sept. 21; once again, proceeds will be poured into the roof and air conditioning.

The weather outside may have been frightful, but under the big tent, partiers grooved to the sounds of five live music acts stretching from noon to after 10 p.m. Performers included Hands of Time, Branded, Odd Man Out, Charlie the Kid and Eastern Ontario marquee band Ambush.

Many of the performers had Russell connections. One-man band Charlie the Kid delivered a wide range of tunes in various genres alternating between a couple of guitars, a mini tambourine tied to one foot, while the other foot drove a bass drum pedal against a guitar case.

High energy Ambush kept the crowd stirred up until closing time… which was extended briefly by popular demand. Slater said all the musicians were paid, with Ambush offering a discount because it was a Legion event.

Underlining all the work that goes on behind the scenes, between songs, Ambush founder, singer and guitarist Mark McDonell thanked organizers for putting on such a great party.