Vankleek Hill held its 169th Annual Agricultural Fair in August… which is a pretty big deal. For most of those seven decades the Fair has been mostly about tractors and horses pulling stuff, seed competitions, dancing horses, good looking cattle, a midway, music, beer and, relatively recently, cars bashing other cars.
But they’ve expanded in the past few years to include a firefighters competition, circus acts, a guy with reptiles, huge tractors bashing other huge tractors and beach volleyball.
Volleyball was the newest addition, I think this was the first year. And it was a bit of a niche market… definitely fun, and well organized, but it was tucked away in a weird corner with a well-travelled road to the back parking area right beside it. And the only spectators were family and teams waiting their turn to play on one of the two courts.
But that’s how these things grow… thirty years ago there were two major annual events in Vankleek Hill, the Agricultural Fair and ‘The May Show’, an arts exhibition featuring twelve local artists.
But the arts exhibition grew, and took in crafts and food vendors, and became a ‘lets shut down Main Street for four days’ event. So people had a place to showcase their whatevers, like their bands, wine, birdhouses, stuff.
And then events started spinning off into their own things, and now 6,000 people show up on a Sunday in September for the ‘Festival of Flavours’ food festival. Another 16,000 show up over three days in October for Vankleek Hill’s ‘Octoberfest’ celebration. And there’s at least one major event bringing in thousands of people every month throughout the year.
So, who knows, maybe in ten years there’ll be a separate VKH Beach Volleyball & Music Festival. Because that’s what happens when you have people living in a small village who ask “hey, if the can, why not us?”, and given a venue to give it a shot.
…we have a Vankleek Hill Amateur Photo Club now, this is our Facebook Page: [Link]. I think it’s pretty cool…