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Toronto gears up to celebrate all things Ford with mayor's BBQ bash

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford kisses a baby while greeting guests to "Ford Fest" an open barbeque at his mother's house in Etobicoke, Sept.7, 2012.

J.P. MOCZULSKI/The Globe and Mail

Free food and drinks. Amusement park rides for the kids. And a song proclaiming Rob Ford the "cost cowboy" and a "rollback viceroy"?

All three will be at Ford Fest.

The annual event, which bills itself as Toronto's largest family barbeque, will be held Friday night in the city's east end at Thomson Memorial Park in Scarborough. This marks the first time the event will be outside the Fords' home base of Etobicoke in the northwest, though another barbeque will be held there later this summer.

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Toronto singer Jenny James, who has recorded a song about Mr. Ford's tax-cutting agenda, is on the bill to entertain the crowd. Her song, "Rob Ford (The World Will Remember)" is posted on YouTube and praises Mr. Ford as the "Taxpayers Lord" and the "excess cost eliminator."

"He's big and grand, on wasting people's money he takes a stand," the song declares.

Councillor Gary Crawford, whose band Gently Bent has played at the past two summer parties in the Fords' backyard, said Friday he is not on this weekend's bill because the group's singer is at the cottage. Mr. Crawford said he plans to drop by, and to perform at the other Ford barbeque later this summer.

Councillor Doug Ford said earlier this week he's crossing his fingers the event isn't hit by rain. Environment Canada says there is a 40 per cent chance of showers this evening.

"Have fun, enjoy yourself," Councillor Ford said.

A spokesman for Mayor Rob Ford did not respond to a message seeking comment about the event Thursday.

Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker, whose ward is playing host to the event, echoed Councillor Ford's comments.

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"Enjoy and party – you're in Scarborough," he said.

Mr. De Baeremaeker said he granted a noise exemption request for the event. He noted he did the same for Canada Day, calling the process standard procedure.

"I think people are just going to go out, have a great time, allow the mayor to mix and mingle with thousands and thousands of people, and that's a very healthy and good thing," he said.

Mr. De Baeremaeker said the event's permit indicated about 5,000 people are expected.

Councillor Adam Vaughan said the barbeque will be made up of Ford fanatics talking to Ford fanatics.

"Is it campaigning? I don't think it's convincing anybody that doesn't like Ford about anything about Ford," he said. "It's not going to change the outcome of the election. It's not going to make him a better mayor."

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With a report from Elizabeth Church

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