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Kinsmen Club of Brantford continues long history of helping the community  

Community ProfileKinsmen Club of Brantford continues long history of helping the community  

The Kinsmen Club of Brantford has continued to be one of the most enduring organizations in Brantford and Brant County, raising countless funds for various causes through popular, annual events including the Car Show & Swap Meet and Ribfest Weekend.

Norm Philpott, who is the Secretary-Treasurer of the Kinsmen Club of Brantford and has been affiliated with the Kinsmen for over 40 years, notes the importance of their work.

“We raise funds for many causes through several events and work hard to enhance the quality of life of our community while promoting positive values and fellowship,” said Philpott. “We want to continue to help the community by volunteering our time and trying to improve it.”

Here is another photo from a past Annual Car Show & Swap Meet. The event boasts up to 400 cars (annually) and draws thousands of people from all across Ontario, Canada, and even the United States. Photo courtesy Jody Phillips.

One of the longest-running events that the Kinsmen have organized has been the Car Show & Swap Meet which has attracted many visitors throughout Brant County, Ontario, Canada, and the United States for over five decades. Starting in the early 1970s, it eventually moved to Paris, Ontario.

“We moved to the Paris Fairgrounds in 1981 and have hosted it there ever since. We do the Car show to raise funds for causes like Cystic Fibrosis,” Philpott continued. “It’s quite the show. It’s amazing. We’re so grateful for these participants to bring their vehicles for people to see… [and making the event] a phenomenon.”

Pictured here is a band playing at a past Ribfest event which is hosted by the Kinsmen Club of Brantford. For 13 years, this popular event has provided an opportunity for the Kinsmen to raise money for various local causes while entertaining many throughout Brantford and Brant County. Photo courtesy Kinsmen Club of Brantford.

Thomas Sevier, who has been President of the Kinsmen Club of Brantford since 2012, noted another major annual fundraising event, which has been Ribfest.

“We [were initially] approached by a couple of people who were interested in starting a Ribfest event. We just thought it would be a nice idea for the people in Brantford and Brant County…to have a nice community barbecue on a grand scale [as] there were a couple of cities that already had one like Sarnia, London [and] Burlington,” Sevier continued. “We decided it was a great thing for the community to enjoy while helping us raise funds for different projects…like Nova Vida [and] various food banks.”

Thomas Sevier, who has been President of the Kinsmen Club of Brantford since 2012, is pictured here presenting membership to a new member. The Kinsmen are always looking for community-minded individuals to help support initiatives to build a better community. Photo courtesy Kinsmen Club of Brantford.

Along with these two well-known events, the Kinsmen Club of Brantford has been part of other community initiatives including being a member of the Brantford International Villages since 1984 as well as maintaining charity gumball vending machines and offering bursaries (providing financial help for those seeking higher learning.)

For this, the Kinsmen have won many honours for their fundraising and community-building efforts such as a Brantford Tourism Shining Stars Award and multiple readership awards as well as recognitions from the local and federal governments.

Here is another photo of several members of the Kinsmen Club of Brantford after a meeting. Photo courtesy Kinsmen Club of Brantford.

Although the Kinsmen have been going strong in the community for 83 years, one of the major challenges, most recently, has been getting new members. Philpott explains.

“Several years ago, we had close to 24 members, which was good. But COVID came along and now we are down to around eight. Many organizations, like us, have been going through that in the last number of years [and] we’re trying to [obtain those] strong membership numbers again,“ said Philpott.

However, Sevier remains optimistic when it comes to getting people involved with Kinsmen’s community efforts.

“More people are moving into Brantford and Brant County and will find out what we do [through our events and initiatives] …that’s honestly why I do this…[to] get people interested in helping the community,” said Sevier. 

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