Ask any long time Charleswood resident what happens on the first weekend of June and you’ll hear the familiar refrain "Chuck and Mo’. " This was the affectionate name for the community fair currently called Charleswood Days, which has run in the community for as long as anyone can remember.
Long held on the grounds of Eric Coy Arena, the event has undergone several changes over the years. Older members of the community might recall the adults-only social, a bingo tent, beer garden, barbecue dinner and pancake breakfasts which set the tone for the entire weekend.
Growing up, I can remember staring out the windows of Charleswood Junior High watching as the trucks pulled across the grass and spread out in field. Sparkly cars, steel beams, and food stands distracted me from anything going on in the classroom.
Next, the City of Winnipeg workers arrived to prepare the fields for the baseball and soccer tournaments. Various community centres would show up with their gear in tow, the field would become littered with picnic benches, food stands, a dunk tank, petting zoo and a stage.
If you lived within a few blocks of all the entertainment, your backyard became filled with the sounds of live music, screams and laughter. Over the span of a few days members of the community would come together and just have fun. It was a chance to gather with friends and family, enjoy some mini doughnuts and hop on one of your favourite rides for the first of 20 spins that weekend.
To avoid the hot sun, many of us would duck into the arena. Before making a lap of the sponsored booths, we’d wander along the walls looking for our entries in the colouring contest and point out the artistic abilities of our friends.
The heat didn’t keep anyone away from the candy and grocery scrambles. It was almost a fashion statement when you saw a kid walk by with their shirt tucked in and stuffed with candy.
Afterwards, visitors would head to the stage for the watermelon eating contest and to see the bands that were performing.
Saturday evening the grounds would fill to near bursting as more friends and neighbours arrived. Blankets and lawn chairs staked family territories as they claimed spots for the fireworks show.
Sunday morning the crowds would gather again, this time down Grant Avenue as they waited anxiously for the beginning of the parade. The floats, community groups and mascots seemed never-ending as they tossed stickers and candy out into the crowd.
Time has passed, and Charleswood Days may not be the way many people remember them to be, but what is waiting for you is a chance to make new memories with family and friends. Enjoy your weekend of rides, mini doughnuts and fireworks.
Travis Mitchell is a community correspondent for Charleswood. Comments and story ideas can be sent to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.