Hitting the big 3-0, one of Windsor’s busiest people is getting even busier to help those in need.
You probably know him from AM800’s Morning Drive, Noon Report and as CTV Windsor’s 6 p.m. weather specialist. On December 2 however, media man Arms Bumanlag will be celebrating his 30th birthday with Windsor firefighters. Taking place at Koko Pellies Lounge & Grill (110 Chatham St. W,) he’ll be “Up In Arms” for his third annual charity concert – his second in partnership with the “other” guys in red hats and Sparky’s Toy Drive.
Described as the last push before Christmas, it’s an important night for Arms and all involved.
“Last year we raised close to $3,000 for Sparky’s and over $1,000 in toys,” said the radio and TV personality. “We had ‘capacity attendance’ by 10 p.m.”
With admission being either $5 or a new unwrapped toy upon entry, Sparky’s toy drive’s final event is attended by those “young and young at heart,” according to Bumanlag. Doors open at 8 p.m. and The Big 3-0 Up In Arms concert will feature door prizes, entertainment including Short Notice, Sparky, Windsor firefighters and many surprises – such as a big one for wine lovers who enjoy local vineyards especially.
After working with another charity for the concert’s first year, the charismatic host was humbled by the intense planning. Bumanlag organized sponsorships, food, music performances and everything in between, giving him a huge appreciation for those who take on such responsibilities locally. After the first year’s success, he wanted to continue and was offered a helping hand from friends and firefighters Rob Higgins (Koko Pellies co-owner) and Jeremy Soulliere (Sparky’s coordinator.) Even so, the concert is a big undertaking: Planning began in August and Arms is taking next week off for finishing touches.
While many charities need support during the holidays, Bumanlag’s association with Sparky’s Toy Drive hits close to home. Although he didn’t grow up without anything under the Christmas tree, it’s hard for him to imagine others not having the memories he does.
“Sparky’s is such an awesome drive because I remember what it was like to wake up on christmas morning and running down to see all these presents for me and my brother,” he said. “It was just an amazing feeling. When the guys at Windsor fire came to me and layed down what they did with the Toy Drive and to hear about less fortunate kids having nothing on Christmas – that broke my heart. Every Kid deserves a great Christmas and this is what the concert is all about.”
The event will be bittersweet for some performers however. After the birthday bash, band Short Notice will be parting ways, making this their last gig. Of course, the only way to witness their farewell is to attend the event yourself, celebrate Bumanlag’s birthday and help a great cause in the process.
Speaking of which, what are his feelings on turning 30?
“To be honest, it feels good,” said Bumanlag. “Time is really flying by for me. I look back at the last decade, how different my life was in 2000 (no inclination that I wanted to be in Radio or TV) and now – I’m lucky to work alongside people like Christie Bezaire and Jim Crichton each night as the Weatherman on CTV and to be able to inform, educate and entertain with Mike Kakuk and Lisa Williams on AM800. I really feel my career is just getting started and looking forward to seeing what the next 10 years brings …My eyes are not as good as they used to be, and I’m getting some grey hairs but overall I’m good!”
Benefiting children locally, Sparky’s Toy Drive is sponsored by CTV Windsor and AM800.