Sarnia residents are being invited out to the riverfront Aug. 6 to wish retired astronaut Chris Hadfield an early happy 60th birthday, and watch the unveiling of his Canada’s Walk of Fame Hometown Star.
Hadfield, who was born in Sarnia and spends time at a cottage on Stag Island, was officially inducted into the Walk of Fame in 2018.
The 4 p.m. event on Aug. 6 is free and will be set up near the fountain at the Bayshore parking lot in the park on the riverfront.
Author David Chilton will be master of ceremonies and there will be birthday cake, plus performances by fellow 2018 Walk of Fame inductee Andy Kim, Emm Gryner and the Arrogant Worms.
Gryner, who was also born in Sarnia, has recorded music with Hadfield, including his version of Space Oddity recorded while he was on the International Space Station.
Mayor Mike Bradley said the walk of fame approached the city several months ago about organizing a local event.
“They decided they wanted to make it less Toronto-centric and take it back to the communities people came from,” he said.
“We’re one of the first.”
The Sarnia event follows a Hometown Star event held earlier this year in Vancouver for Seth Rogen, Jim Pattison and Evan Goldberg.
“They’re doing one in London the next day, after our event, with the skaters,” Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Bradley added.
“And, they may be coming to our event.”
After being approached by the Walk of Fame, Bradley said a planning committee was formed with staff at City Hall and Michele Stokley.
“They call themselves the space cadets,” Bradley said.
“It has been a lot of fun trying to get this together.”
Bluewater Power came on board as a sponsor and the event is expected to be about one hour in length.
“Bring your lawn chairs and come celebrate with us,” Stokley said.
Bradley said more special guests may be announced.
“It’s my hope to see many Sarnians come out to meet Chris and celebrate one of Sarnia’s greatest citizens,” he said.
“It’s a really exciting event.”
Stokley said that as part of the event Hadfield is expected to announce a local charity which will receive a donation in connection to the Walk of Fame event.
A decision hasn’t been made about where Hadfield’s Hometown Star will be permanently displayed in Sarnia.
“I’m thinking it’s time Sarnia had it’s own walk of fame,” possibly on the waterfront or downtown, Bradley said.
Bradley added he has had discussions about setting up an independent committee that could arrange to induct several famous Sarnia natives each year.
“That’s where it may end up.”