Onrait: Angry insects, friendly people on Kingston stop

Jay Onrait
8/25/2009 7:21:48 PM
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The first stop on the Eastern leg of the Kraft Celebration Tour was two days of angry insects and friendly people. Not to mention one pair of very tight pants.
Kingston is just a two-and-a-half hour drive from our studios in Toronto. A straight shot on the 401 highway along Lake Ontario. When we arrived in town we immediately headed downtown to sample some of the nightlife with the rest of the crew. Needless to say we had an enjoyable time on our first night on the tour, and much of that fun was thanks to Uncle Brian.
Who the heck is "Uncle Brian" you ask? I should begin that answer by saying he's not actually my uncle, he's Dan's uncle. An easy-going biker dude who loves "American Chopper". Just imagine Big Paulie with a shaved head and you'll get the idea. The man knew how to enjoy himself and proved to be the ultimate tour guide for what is truly one of Canada's great cities.
And yes, the entire crew called him "Uncle Brian" throughout the evening.
Uncle Brian told me that he has lived in the Kingston area for the past 25 years and I'm pretty sure he knows everyone in town. I'm not exaggerating. I really think he knows every single person in town. At least it seemed that way as we plodded from bar to bar while people yelled "Brian!" and ran across the street to give him a hug and say hello. This didn't just happen once. This happened every single place we went. He was like a young Al Waxman strolling through the streets of Kensington Market.
The next day O'Toole and I made our way to historic Fort Henry on the banks of the St. Lawrence for the annual Easter Seals Walk/Run. Was I looking and feeling my best? Um... sure. Did I have a great time? Absolutely! Everyone had a great time and while we were there we got to meet "Dave", the unofficial mascot of the Fort (a goat), and we also hatched a plan to return later in the afternoon, get dressed in battle regalia and participate in a re-enactment of the War of 1812.
When we returned to The Fort we were thrilled to find our uniforms waiting for us. One small problem: There weren't exactly a lot of 6'5" soldiers back in 1812 so I had a bit of trouble fitting into my pants. Actually a lot of trouble. When I finally got them on I looked a little like Travolta in Saturday Night Fever...if Travolta had washed his pants in very hot water and thrown them in the dryer.
Once we hit "the battlefield" all thoughts of comfort went away as we were about to die valiantly in battle. I may have overdone my death scene a bit. My job may be to act like an idiot on TV, but I'm no actor.
Then it was off to the campus of Kingston's Royal Military College for our live broadcast. We had a GREAT crowd that patiently waited for us to rehearse a bit and fight off a few of the swarms of bees and wasps that were attacking our set. O'Toole was actually bitten on the hand by one during the war re-enactment and then nearly drank a bee that was sitting on top of his energy drink can. The guy just can't catch a break. Lucky for Dan one of our local crew members was a paramedic and ready to step in and save him. In some ways it's too bad that didn't happen! It would have made for great TV!
We made it through the broadcast mostly unscathed though it was so hot under the lights I looked like Patrick Ewing in the 1994 NBA Finals. Special thanks to Mike the DJ who warmed up the crowd and kept them cheering and having a great time all the way through. Another big thank you to everyone we met in Kingston and congratulations to the Kingston YMCA who will be getting a $25,000 cheque from the good folks at Kraft that will go in large part to helping out their outstanding aquatic programs.
I have to run but I'll check in on Tuesday from our next stop: Trois-Pistoles, Quebec. We just arrived and O'Toole is waiting for me so we can go to St. Hubert's for lunch. Who knows how many times he's been stung while waiting outside for me?

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