Turkey Point thinking of Al Reid during this weekend's Summerfest
Summerfest volunteers check out the low-impact adult exercise equipment that was recently installed at the pavilion in Turkey Point. They are Larry Gardiner (left), Pauline Gibbs, Al Freeman and Norm Marshall. MONTE SONNENBERG / SIMCOE REFORMER
The organizers of Summerfest in Turkey Point are doing fine.
But they sure miss the leadership of Al Reid.
Reid was the skipper of the Summerfest ship for the past 15 years and the go-to guy when there were any issues. He was devoted to the advancement of Turkey Point and was the driving force behind the slow but steady development of the village’s play park into a community hub.
Reid’s health took a sudden turn for the worse earlier this year. His decline was rapid and he died June 15. He was 68.
“He was very smart, very organized,” says Summerfest treasurer Pauline Gibbs. “Everything was in his head. He knew everything about the fest inside and out. I’ve been more involved and more overwhelmed with Summerfest this year because Al is gone.”
Reid was a talented businessman and builder who made his fortune with Reid & Deleye of Courtland. During his tenure, Reid & Deleye took on many large projects. If there was an arena to build somewhere, Reid & Deleye would bid on it.
Reid was also a partner in the development of Dura-Loc tiles, the stylish indestructible roofing material that came with a 100-year guarantee. Dura-Loc Tiles was eventually sold at a handsome profit to American investors.
Reid’s ancestors were among the founding families of Norfolk County. Reid’s family in Lynedoch was among the first to plant tobacco on the Norfolk Sand Plain nearly 100 years ago. Reid attended high school in Delhi.
One simple principle guided Reid and the Summerfest organizing committee: All profit from the event was devoted to the betterment of Turkey Point.
Summerfest began in the mid-1990s with a tent, a trailer and a soggy parking lot at the north end of the property.
Today, a handsome spacious pavilion covers the grounds and protects visitors from the weather. Upgrades have been made to playground equipment, while a seven-station, low-impact exercise facility for adults was completed in mid-July at a cost of nearly $100,000.
A drain on the north side of the property means the area dries quickly after a storm. This has created reliable space for parking, the Summerfest car show and the popular Summerfest bed races. Money for the $20,000 drainage system was raised at Summerfest.
“He was a bit of a perfectionist,” says friend Al Freeman, a Summerfest volunteer who worked closely with Reid. “He used his business and technical expertise to set all this up.”
Summerfest was established as its own entity by the Turkey Point and District Business Association. President Norm Marshall laments the loss of a man who was a builder in all senses of the word.
“He was a good friend, neighbour and a good person to work with and to work for,” Marshall said Friday.
Summerfest began Wednesday and wraps up today (Sunday).
Once this edition of Summerfest is through, organizers will meet to discuss Reid’s contribution and will attempt to define a lasting tribute to his legacy in Turkey Point.