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Seven events to check out in Waterloo Region this summer

Seven events to check out in Waterloo Region this summer

WATERLOO REGION — Summer is in full swing with local events happening all season. Here are seven events to check out.

1. Great Ontario Beer Festival

The annual festival brings together 38 breweries, three distilleries and four cideries from across the province. Attendees also have the chance to try different foods, listen to live music and play giant Jenga or beer pong.

Location: Bingemans — 425 Bingemans Centre Dr. Kitchener

Date and time: June 24-25

2. 55th annual KW Multicultural Festival

Hosted by the Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre, the festival offers live music, artisans and an array of food and craft booths. The annual event is family-friendly and draws upwards of 40,000 attendees each year.

Location: Victoria Park — 80 Schneider Ave. Kitchener

Date and time: June 25-26 from 12-6 p.m. each day

3. Canada Day in Downtown Kitchener

Canada Day events are returning to Downtown Kitchener this year with lots of family-friendly fun, an evening concert featuring singer Alyssa Reid and a fireworks display to end the night.

Location: Carl Zehr Square at Kitchener City Hall

Date: July 1 from 6 to 10:30 p.m.

4. Kultron World Music Festival

The festival features dance performances and activities from several countries as well as an art exhibit and a local artisan market.

Location: St. Jacobs Baseball Diamond Outfield — 3 Water St. St. Jacobs

Date: July 7-10

5. Downtown Kitchener Ribfest and Craft Beer Show

The annual event features barbecued ribs and chicken, Ontario craft-brewed beer, live entertainment and a kids zone.

Location: Victoria Park — 80 Schneider Ave. Kitchener

Date: July 15-17

6. Cambridge Scottish Festival

Founded in 1975, the family-friendly festival features various Scottish performances including Highland dancers, massed bands, heavy events and bagpipes and drums.

Location: Churchill Park — 200 Christopher Dr. Cambridge

Date: July 15-16

7. Blues Fest

The largest “true blue” festival in Canada will have more than 50 acts throughout the four-day event. Admission is free for the 20th annual Kitchener Blues Fest.

Location: Victoria Park — 80 Schneider Ave., Kitchener

Date and time: Aug. 4-7

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E-sports charity event is just the beginning

E-sports charity event is just the beginning

WATERLOO REGION — Three local e-sports enthusiasts can win a combined total of $750 worth of prizes at an upcoming charity tournament.

The Waterloo E-Sports Commission (WREC) is hosting the event starting at 10 a.m. on April 10, where players will battle it out in four rounds of Rocket League.

Each round will last about an hour and prizes include gift cards, tickets and passes to local events.

“This is one small step toward a bigger goal of ultimately hosting these larger tournaments and competitions, but also growing the (e-sports gaming) sector as a whole,” said Jeremy Dueck, the commission’s chair.

This includes through collegiate programs, and building regular events and leagues.

Rocket League is a game where players use cars to play soccer in a virtual arena.

The final two championship rounds will be livestreamed at 2 p.m. so that viewers can interact with each other.

Registration opened in early March at $10 per person, allowing those of all ages, both local and those from out of the region.

“There’s this phenomenal grassroots level of e-sports locally,” said Dueck.

“Finding out who enjoys playing e-sports, who enjoys building games and getting those people involved — I think it’s really about participation and community engagement.”

Participants will play from their homes, with use of video cameras encouraged.

The local e-sports commission’s vice chair, Allister Scorgie, hopes this event, as the commission’s first tournament, will be one of many. He looks forward to possibly doing in-person events in the future.

“One of the things we’re trying to do is create community using e-sports.”

“It’s gone from an activity that a lot of people did on their own and played from home, to something where there is a social component to it,” said Scorgie.

The group hopes to reach 120 players who would sign up to join the event. The commission partnered with the City of Kitchener to host it.

All of the tournament’s proceeds will go to the Every Kid Counts Program, which gives children with disabilities access to City of Kitchener and City of Waterloo summer camps. Dueck said a $400 donation would put a child in summer camp for a week.

To sign up for the tournament, go to

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Bingemans booking weddings at former Hacienda Sarria event space

Bingemans booking weddings at former Hacienda Sarria event space

KITCHENER — The event space formerly known as Hacienda Sarria is once again being used as a venue for weddings and other celebrations.

Bingemans is now booking events at the 1254 Union St. site in Kitchener. The venue, once a former steel factory that was transformed by the late Ron Doyle to resemble a centuries-old Spanish villa, is now being called the Union Event Centre.

But even under a different name and with a different company co-ordinating events, the venue hasn’t been able to shake its connection to the bankruptcy of Hacienda Sarria in 2020.

In response to Bingemans’ advertisements on Facebook, people have recognized the venue and pointed to the Hacienda event company’s bankruptcy that led to more than 100 couples and organizations losing their deposits.

According to documents from BDO Canada, the licensed insolvency trustee handling the bankruptcy case, creditors are owed more than $1 million from wedding deposits, prom bookings, and other events. Documents show the company had been losing money for years.

Mitch Taylor and his partner were among the couples who put down thousands to have their wedding there. He said the timing of Bingemans hosting events in the space is “extremely disappointing” to see.

“We wouldn’t really feel so bad and disappointed about weddings being hosted there if there was resolution to the situation at hand,” he said. The bankruptcy case is still ongoing.

Taylor said at this point, he and other creditors aren’t expecting to see their deposits returned — at least not willingly.

If the bankruptcy case closes and no money is recuperated, the group looking at filing a commercial lawsuit against the bankrupt 1836816 Ontario Inc., also known as Hacienda. Taylor said it would be great if couples could get their deposits back but it’s more important that the responsible parties are held accountable.

“Bringing justice to light is really a hot motivation right now, and obviously recuperating money would be a cherry on top.”

The director of Hacienda was Nadine Doyle. The property at 1254 Union St. was owned by her father, Ron Doyle, but following his death last year, the property is now owned by Suzanne Doyle and Nadine Doyle.

Multiple attempts to reach Suzanne and Nadine were not successful.

Taylor said when he heard Bingemans would be holding events at the Union Street venue, it raised a number of questions for him and others, including: what happens to the money Bingemans is paying to use the venue?

“Is that money going to the owner of that venue who ultimately is linked to the bankrupt corporation?”

Taylor said those responsible need to be held to account, if not just for this situation to serve as a “wake up call” to any other corporations potentially considering bankruptcy “and doing this to other people.”

If people see what happened with Hacienda and become hesitant about leaving deposits with other event co-ordinators, “what is that stigma going to do to the event industry?”

Bingemans’ president, Mark Bingeman said his company made arrangements with the landlord of the Union Street property earlier this year to utilize the space for events. When asked by The Record, Bingeman would not share the name of the landlord, or identify the numbered company.

He said he wasn’t able to comment on the ongoing bankruptcy proceedings because his company had no involvement with Hacienda Sarria or the bookings that were terminated in 2020.

Future of the property unknown

In the fall of 2020, the Union Street property was put up for sale for nearly $8 million. It’s unclear if efforts are still being made to sell the property.

Bingeman said he didn’t know about the long-term use of the space as an event venue. His sales team is focused on booking events for this year only and isn’t looking beyond 2022.

Bingemans will be treating this location like all the other venues offered to clients, he said. All deposits and payments will be made to Bingemans only.

“All we know is, any clients booking with us can be rest assured that their events will be executed as they expect.”

He said the venue still has plenty of dates available for spring and summer weddings. The Union Street site isn’t included in the list of venues on Bingemans website, but has been shared on their social media accounts.