Relief concert helps local town recover from August’s flooding

Hundreds of people attended a flood relief concert in Cashton to raise money for a new community hall in Ontario.

It’s been more than six months since flooding devastated several communities in our area.

One of the hardest-hit places was Ontario. During the flooding, the town’s main gathering place was severely damaged, and they haven’t been able to use it since.

Mark Smith, the village board president of Ontario, said, “It sounds kind of funny, but it really is the heart of the community.”

Smith said things haven’t been the same since losing the community hall.

“Everything happens at our community hall, and it’s really a big part of who we are. Friday night bingo all through the school year, it’s where wedding dances happen, funerals happen, birthdays, anniversaries,” Smith said.

Many Ontario residents and business owners are still trying to rebuild, but Smith says the town won’t be whole again until it gets the hall back.

“It’s going to be an important thing, and it’s going to be really important in the healing process for the village going forward,” Smith said.

Hundreds of people from around the region, including Tugg musician Andy Hughes, decided to do something about it.

“Music is a universal thing that can bring us all together. We can dance and have fun, and if we can come together and we can raise money while we’re doing it, I think that’s the perfect mix,” Hughes said.

Smith said if they get enough money to rebuild the hall, they can even improve it to better meet the community’s needs.

“We have some real opportunities here in the midst of the disaster that we had,” Smith said.

Event organizers are hoping to raise $20,000 for the community hall.

Ontario is considering moving the hall to a new location and says it may be around two to three years before it’s open again.

If you would like to donate toward the hall, you can contact either the Ontario Community Club on Facebook or the Bank of Ontario.

Get your weather forecast from people that actually live in your community. We update with short, easy-to-use video forecasts you can watch on your phone every day. Download the iOS or Android app here.