Ford Fest takes place Saturday in Markham, event this year is ticketed

Ontario Premier Doug Ford greets the crowd as he takes the stage at Ford Fest in Vaughan , Ontario, on September 22, 2018. Chris Young / The Canadian Press

Ontario Premier Doug Ford and the Progressive Conservative party are hosting Ford Fest today.

It’s an annual event with food and entertainment that used to be held at the Ford family home in the Etobicoke area of Toronto.

It is still free and open to the public, but unlike previous years, this year’s gathering requires attendees to register for tickets and comes with the caveat that anyone can be denied a ticket.

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Last year’s Ford Fest, held on the grounds of a recreation centre in Vaughan, Ont., came as the Progressive Conservatives were riding high, a few months after forming a majority government.

This year’s Ford Fest, held at the Markham Fairgrounds, comes as the Tories slump in the polls and Ford’s personal popularity has taken a hit following a budget that contained many unpopular cuts.

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Controversy dogged Ford after the event last year as he was pressured to distance himself from Faith Goldy, a Toronto woman known for her extreme views, who posed for a photograph with him.

Ford ultimately said he condemned hate speech, anti-Semitism and racism in all forms, whether it comes from Goldy for anyone else.

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