LISTEN: Ford faithful flock to Ford Fest, tempers flare

Event didn't appear to break city bylaws

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    Courtesy for Rey Mena

      Thousands of Ford faithful, curiosity seekers and a handful of protestors packed Scarborough’s sprawling Thomson Memorial Park Friday for Ford Fest.

      The Ford-family hosted bash has been held at least once a year since 1995. Initially held at Rob and Doug Ford’s mother’s home in Etobicoke, the growing event shifted to public parks in 2013 and added an eastern stop.

      Burgers, hot dogs, ice cream, bouncy castle, and a live band aside, Friday’s BBQ appeared to be carefully controlled affair so as to stay within Toronto bylaws.  The rules prohibit use of city space for the “use or promotion of a particular candidate or political party” during an election period. The city fielded over 175 complaints about Ford Fest from people who said the party was little more than a glorified re-election push for the mayor.

      Bylaw officers watched on as volunteers handed out red and blue “Ford Nation“  flags made of paper. Guests were offered free T-shirts emblazoned with “Ford Fest Toronto” on the front above a silhouette of the Toronto skyline. On the back, “Ford Nation”.

      Before the mayor’s arrival, challenger Karen Stintz showed up at the park, wearing a navy T-shirt with the words “Karen Stintz for Mayor” across her chest. Though the shirt also featured a sunflower, Stintz’s campaign emblem, she dismissed suggestions she was campaigning.

      Fellow mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson rode a white horse named Fiona into Ford Fest and was soundly booed. Flanked by supporters wearing red shirts that included the message “Sarah Thomson for mayor of Toronto”, Thomson too denied she was campaigning.

      “If Rob Ford can be here having a party, giving away free hamburgers to people, I can come around and let people pet a horse,” Thomson told Newstalk 1010. “I think it’s pretty much the same.”

      Rob Ford spent close to four hours under a tent shaking hands, taking photos and signing autographs as a long, meandering line of adoring fans stretched out before him.

       “I love Rob Ford immensely,” said Juliette who travelled from Ajax to show her support. “He is for the people.” Another woman with her son perched on her hip said she loves Ford so much, she named the 19-month-old Rob.

      Ford’s supporters did not seem bothered by his admitted drug use, his reported use of racial slurs or allegations of mixing mayoralty with the family business.

      “He went to rehab. Everybody has slip-ups, man. He made a mistake and, whatever, we forgive him,” shrugged one man. Juliette gave the mayor a pass because “no one is perfect” and she admires Rob Ford as a “what you see is what you get” kind of guy. “You don’t know what the other candidates have said about the Jews, and the blacks, and the non-whites.”

      Well out of the mayor’s view and earshot, there was a heated, half-hour long confrontation between Ford supporters and a handful of demonstrators from LGBTQ group, Queeruption.

      “Rob Ford needs to be held accountable for his homophobia,” said Poe Liberado, pointing to the mayor’s recent lone dissenting vote against a homeless shelter for queer youth.

      The demonstrators were met with shouts of “This is Ford Fest, go home!”, “Go home f****t!”, “Suck a dick f***t, go munch a carpet!” Members of the group were pushed, a Ford supporter wrapped his hand around a protestor’s neck and Liberado says they were tackled.

      Signs reading “Ford #1 Hater, Homophobia kills kids” and “Don’t drink the Kool Aid” were plucked from protestors' hands, ripped to bits and stomped upon.

      Another pre-election Ford Fest is in the works.  

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      • 24
      1. dama posted on 07/25/2014 02:04 PM
        Get reaaaaaaa ddddddd yyyyyyyyyyy to parrrtttyyyy..

        I hope Ford Nation Tees are allowed.. dont mind scoring a few.. hee hee heeeee
        1. Sonny posted on 07/25/2014 02:57 PM
          @dama Fords really played the City for this one because if he wins OR loses he got away with this one.
        2. dama posted on 07/25/2014 03:07 PM
          @Sonny Put politic aside..doesn't matter who wins or lose..

          it is Friday.. let your hair down and have some fun..
          if you dont want to go to the Ford Fest.. go to the Jazz fest

          Chill out..
        3. arthur posted on 07/25/2014 03:14 PM
          @dama scoring some weed? ask Rob he keeps in his football jacket. maybe he rolled a few for the night to bring with him.
          Dama.... don't crack and drive now! ok!
        4. dama posted on 07/25/2014 03:40 PM
          @arthur weeds? like dandelion? ..those I don't smoke. I make wine out of it .. or plain dandelion leaves salad..

          No, I TTC. so dont worry about me drinking and driving ..
        5. Lies my Ford told me. posted on 07/25/2014 04:59 PM
          @dama “Bunch of maggots. No matter what you say… you’re never going to make them happy.”
          Ford on his radio show while continuing to lie about the existence of a video showing him smoking crack.
        6. Lies my Ford told me. posted on 07/25/2014 05:02 PM
          @arthur “That is not a crack house. It is a house with a family with a father and a mother and three sons and a daughter.”
          The mayor paints a Rockwellian portrait of the north-end bungalow of his high school bud that police says is a crack “chop shop” and hangout for the Dixon Bloods.
      2. Karl Burgin posted on 07/25/2014 03:12 PM

        God...I just got a hardon.
        1. Suz58 posted on 07/25/2014 03:15 PM
          @Karl Burgin Good for you Karl, now go to the bathroom and do something with it. Think that Doug will bring the fire truck to the party? It was a big hit at the campaign kickoff at The Congress Centre.

          I wish that I could join the residents of Toronto tonight.
      3. Lies my Ford told me. posted on 07/25/2014 04:56 PM
        “These allegations are ridiculous. It’s another story with respect to the Star going after me.”
        On his way to a PFLAG Pride flag-raising ceremony the morning after the Toronto Star and Gawker broke the crack video story. These would be his only words on the affair until his non-denial denial a week later. The Star proved no easy target.
      4. Lies my Ford told me. posted on 07/25/2014 04:57 PM
        “I do not use crack nor am I an addict of crack cocaine. As for a video, I cannot comment on a video that I have never seen or does not exist.”
        In a year of whoppers, Rob Ford’s twist on Richard Nixon’s “I am not a crook” was one for the ages. Little-known fact: his mother helped him write it.
      5. sans tee posted on 07/25/2014 06:38 PM
        so, Karen Stintz wears her "Stintz for Mayor" Tee-shirt in Thomson Park.....Will be by-law officers tell her to take it off, or will they be taking in a side order of GRAVY?
      6. frankie posted on 07/25/2014 06:44 PM
        Are they hounding other candidates in this way?
      7. Everyday Ford Nation posted on 07/25/2014 09:10 PM
        Everyday Ford Nation loses some members.
        It is a dying nation.
      8. Frankie posted on 07/25/2014 09:31 PM
        IMO there's a greater chance the Leafs will win the Stanley Cup in 2015 than Fiona Cream (integrity commissioner) will investigate Karen Stintz and Sarah Thomson for their blatant politicking at Ford Fest, but why would we expect integrity from the integrity commissioner?
      9. When is Rob posted on 07/26/2014 06:25 AM
        When is Rob and Doug going to apologize to the two Toronto Star reporters who they knowingly slandered? Remember the lies on their Ford Nation video presentations?

        Fords are nothing but liars.
      10. DMCP posted on 07/26/2014 07:10 AM
        Ford Nation and those who do not particularly embrace the flaming gay lifestyle have always been polite enough not to disrupt the Gay Pride weekend. Can those of another group not be able to enjoy an evening of innocent fun in a park?
        Regarding Stintz and Thompson campaigning at this event - who cares - well maybe Tory and Chow do.
        Mayor Ford is back and focused and none too soon.
        1. Nation Lies posted on 07/26/2014 11:50 AM
          @DMCP Wrong. I saw anti-gay protesters with offensive, hateful signs at the WorldPride opening ceremony and the Pride Parade. The million+ people celebrating Pride had the decency and self-control to avoid causing any violence.

          But you round up a couple of thousand frothing Ford supporters in a park, throw in a handful of peaceful LGBT protesters, and what happens? A mob scene with verbal and physical assaults.

          This is Ford Nation in all of its ugliness.
        2. DMCP posted on 07/26/2014 12:13 PM
          @Nation Lies Funny, I didn't, read of any incidents or see any reports of what you described in the Star or on the CBC.
          Me thinks you are making stories up. Geez honest hard working people can't even have a nice inexpensive time in the park with their families.
      11. Karl Burgin posted on 07/26/2014 09:37 AM

        God...I just got a hardon.
      12. john posted on 07/26/2014 11:13 AM
        good party i was there got a Little confused when i saw Sara Tomson riding a horse . i had to ask someone watch one is the horse . thay told look for the good looking one i said to him it is hard to tell with the ugly thing on top . as for the supporters bite me . not his fault his family event as the same as the pride parade . u want him to attend then change the date . Karen stint was just as ugly as ever of course . there was not enough beer in the world that would even make me wanna go near that thing . she is that ugly . the cameras make her look hotter then she is . it is was i had a good time . and there was no drugs or beer just good food nice people and no one got shot .
        1. Karl Burgin posted on 07/28/2014 09:33 AM
          @john Funny how the by-law officers are standing by to see if Ford does any campaigning- and yet you have a horde of other candidates trying to party crash with their riding in on horses and blatant campaign designer-wear.
          The double-standards just keep coming.

          And to donny who is continues to pose as me, pretends to be part of John's family, and now posting as SUZ58- remember that little talk we had. I guess by the splurge of witless comments, you just couldn't help yourself.
          Do us all a favor and keep your schizo complex to yourself. Sure hope it was you that got arrested at Ford fest. I will ask the police to give you some horse tranquilizer while you're in custody.
      13. john's uncle / daddy posted on 07/26/2014 04:00 PM
        Yeah ... right, john.

        You've been telling everyone you live in Alberta now (don't we wish) but you went to the Ford Farce,
        Nice try, troll.

        BTW - please use English when you try to post something, a$$h0le.
      14. kelvinj posted on 10/12/2014 11:40 PM
        So luck to come across your excellent blog. Your blog brings me a great deal of fun.. Good luck with the site.
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