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TSN's Jay Onrait can't wait to meet fans in MacGregor

Shelley Cook

The venue is set and the guests of honour have been invited to what is slated to be one of the biggest parties in the history of the town of MacGregor: The 2011 Kraft Celebration Tour.

On Saturday, August 27 TSN SportsCentre's Jay Onrait and Dan O'Toole will be pulling into MacGregor for the final leg of the 10-stop Kraft Celebration Tour.

"We're really stoked about finishing off the tour in Manitoba, that's for sure," Onrait said in a telephone interview. "I would love to see people from all over that area come to the event because it's a pretty neat thing to see how the crew puts together the stage, the big screens, the lights, and everything. We're able to do a live show from a different part of the country at every stop."

Onrait and O'Toole will not only bring with them a cheque for $25,000 that will go towards repairing the roof of the NorMac arena, they'll also bring an entourage of representatives from TSN and Kraft who will set up and host a massive celebration complete with games, prizes, a free barbecue of pulled pork on a bun, and a live broadcast of SportsCentre for the rest of Canada to see.

"We try to make it as big of a party as we possibly can," Onrait said. "If you've got a family and it's the last few days of the summer before everyone's heading back to school, it's just an awesome way to spend the day."

Onrait, who lived and worked in Manitoba for a couple of years in the late 1990s, has been trekking across Canada with his co-anchor for the Kraft Celebration Tour for the past three summers. He describes the atmosphere of broadcasting live from different communities as "an amazing source of energy" that he and O'Toole feed off of.

"We love doing our show every night, but nothing compares to being on a stage in front of hundreds of people, entertaining them and just feeding off that live energy. It's the best thing in the world," he said.

One of the most rewarding experiences of hosting lives broadcasts for the famous sportscasters, Onrait said, is when people come up to them after the party and tell them that they had a better time than they expected.

"It's the best compliment you could ever get," he said.

And while the Kraft Celebration Tour has obvious benefits for communities like MacGregor, it also has its perks for Onrait and O'Toole. The duo not only has the opportunity to see parts of Canada they've never seen before, they also to get to meet some of their fans along the way.

"After the show's over we literally spend as much time as we possibly can talking to people, meeting people, taking pictures. I'd encourage people to stick around, we'd love to meet them and chat with them, take pictures with them, it kind of completes the day," he said.

The Kraft Celebration tour kicks off in MacGregor at 3 p.m. on Saturday, August 27. People from all over the province are encouraged to come down and enjoy the free food and activities before the live broadcast of SportsCentre at 5 p.m. Both Onrait and O'Toole say people with signs, and anything else attention-grabbing could land them on TV.

For more information, check out the Facebook event at

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