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Downtown block party among events taking place in London this Victoria Day long weekend

Cimafunk, pictured here performing earlier this month at the 2022 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, will take to the stage in London as part of a two-day downtown block party organized by Sunfest and Home County Music and Art Festival. Tim Mosenfelder/WireImage

With prices at the pump hovering around the $2 per litre mark, many London, Ont., residents will likely be looking to ring in Victoria Day closer to home.

There are plenty of events on the calendar for May long weekend involving live entertainment, music, food and sports.

Read more: March 4: London, Ont. summer festivals gearing up for long-awaited return to the downtown core

The downtown core will be humming with energy as part of a two-day musical block party organized by Sunfest and London’s Home County Music and Art Festival.

The free event will run 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday along Dundas Place between Richmond and Talbot streets, and will feature live music, an artisan market and a beer garden, organizers say.

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However, due to a chance of rain on Saturday, day two of the event has been cancelled. Instead, two of Saturday night’s acts will perform a free show at London Music Hall.

Doors open at 7 p.m. for performances by Canadian funk band KC Roberts & the Live Revolution and international headliner Cimafunk from Cuba.

Among those set to hit the stage during the block party will be the Cuban band Cimafunk, as well as Exco Levi, Marta Elena y Su Orquesta, Big Smoke Brass Band and more, according to a release.

Poster for this weekend’s two-day downtown block party.

Speaking with Global News on Friday, Sunfest’s Alfredo Caxaj described the event as “kind of a warm-up of the summer” and for the main Sunfest in July.

“(We’re) putting together this beautiful lineup of music, live music, from reggae to salsa, from funk to Brazilian. There’s so much stuff that is going to happen this coming weekend,” he said.

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“This is an event that we really hope we can establish and have as an annual celebration. But I think the main purpose … is to really bring life into downtown. I think downtown really needs these types of events, these types of programs, and make downtown an attractive place for our community, for visitors.”

More information can be found on the Sunfest website.

Sunfest organizers are set to unveil the lineup for this year’s summer festival next week.

Read more: London Majors ready to hand out rings ahead of 2022 home opener

Local baseball fans are in luck Friday with the arrival of the London Majors home opener.

The IBL Champion Majors are taking on the Kitchener Panthers at Labatt Park with first pitch set for 7:35 p.m. The game will be preceded by a celebration of the Majors’ 2021 Championship season around 7 p.m.

“It’s going to be a busy night, but it’s also going to be exciting for not only our fans but also for our players from last year as well to do our ring ceremony,” said Scott Dart, co-owner of the Majors, in an interview on London Live with Mike Stubbs on Tuesday.

“The big thing is get here early, because we’ll probably start right around 7 p.m. Our first pitch is at 7:35, so we want to make sure that we have time to recognize the players from last season and get everybody warmed up and ready to go for the home opener.”

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Tickets are still available for Friday night’s game at $12 a pop.

Read more: April 29: Fanshawe Conservation Area opens for 2022 season

The weekend forecast for London calls for cloudy skies Friday night, rainy conditions on Saturday and Sunday, and sunny skies on Monday.

Despite the showers, Fanshawe Conservation Area is expected to be busy with campers and those taking in some recreational activities.

Click to play video: 'Police provide safety tips for Ontario boaters ahead of May long weekend' Police provide safety tips for Ontario boaters ahead of May long weekend
Police provide safety tips for Ontario boaters ahead of May long weekend – May 19, 2022

This weekend marks the start of the conservation area’s canoe and kayak rentals, said Damian Schofield of the Upper Thames Conservation Authority (UTRCA).

“People can either rent those for a half-day or full-day, they can come out and do that. It’s kind of first-come, first-serve. So that would be done at the park registration office,” Schofield said.

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This Victoria Day long weekend also marks the official opening of Fanshawe Pioneer Village for the 2022 season, he said.

“We don’t have any fireworks or anything like that this year here at Fanshawe. The big thing is getting the day-use areas open, our rental programs,” he said.

“On top of that, the campgrounds at all three parks for the public to come in and set the trailer up and enjoy, you know, a campfire and some cooking … just to get outside and enjoy the outdoors.”

All hydro overnight sites at Fanshawe Conservation Area have been booked for the long weekend, he said. However there are still some non-hydro overnight sites that are available.

More information can be found on the Fanshawe Conservation Area website.

Looking ahead, Schofield says the conservation area is expected to open its splash pad and pools in June and July in time for the busier season, with kids out of school for the summer.

Read more: ‘Childhood memories’: Firework safety tips in celebrating Victoria Day

Londoners hoping to view some fireworks displays will have to do so in the backyard. No city- or community-planned firework displays are on the docket for the long weekend.

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Backyard fireworks are only permitted on Victoria Day (May 23), Canada Day (July 1) and Saturday, July 2, between dusk and 11 p.m. this year.

The London Fire Department issued safety tips earlier this week for residents planning to set off their own light shows.

More things to note this long weekend:

  • Seventeen city splash pads open for the season on Saturday.
  • As previously mentioned, the opening of Fanshawe Pioneer Village takes place Saturday. The village is hosting its 63rd season this year.
  • The London Poutine Feast, which began Thursday and runs until Sunday along Dundas Place. The event is from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
  • An Outdoor Latin Market runs Sunday from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. outside of the Covent Garden Market. The market will take place every Sunday until Sept. 25.
  • The opening of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on the Grand Theatre’s Auburn Stage. The show opens Friday and runs until May 29.
  • The opening of Godspell at the Palace Theatre, performed by the London Youth Theatre Education’s senior company. The show opens Friday and runs until Sunday.
  • The opening of Peter and the Starcatcher at Storeybook Gardens. The 105-minute play, based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, opens Friday and runs until May 29.
  • For those with tickets, Brett Kissel will take the stage on Sunday at Budweiser Gardens.
  • Kustermans‘ adventure farm and farm market both opened a week ago and will be open for the long weekend, including on Monday.
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