The three-day Virgil Stampede opens Saturday with something for everyone in the family, including the popular midway rides, lots of entertainment for kids and the smashing and crashing of a demolition derby.
Marcia Penner, representing the Virgil Business Association, said new to the 52nd annual event is an outdoor market with about 40 vendors expected on the grounds from 10 a.m. to dusk Saturday and Monday, and beginning at 11 a.m. Sunday.
Also new to the stampede is the Ben Show, with high-energy comedy entertainment that includes juggling, unicycling and other circus stunts, performed in the Kids' Pavilion three times a day, each of the three days.
Back by popular demand are Tim Holland with his comedy and stunt show, London Reptiles, and air-brush face painting, all in the Kids Pavilion.
Saturday's demolition derby is one of the biggest draws of the stampede, put on by Thrill Show Productions, with three major events running from 4 p.m. to 6:30. Although the company brings its own team, local drivers are encouraged to compete, and can register the day of the show or online at, thrillshowproductions.ca.
The early days of the stampede featured an open horse show, drawing competitors from across the province. That tradition is carried on today with crowd-pleasing miniature horses competing in more than 30 classes, including showmanship and costumes, jumping and obstacle courses, on the grounds throughout the day Monday.
There are also free pony rides for kids Saturday and Sunday, beginning at 11 a.m., says Penner, and a pet show for local children, who are invited to bring their pets Monday afternoon – at 1 p.m. near the back ball diamond – with prizes for the top five.
Amusement rides are provided by John Homeniuk all three days, with bracelets for $45 for all-day rides. Bracelets are available at Phil's valu-mart in Virgil at a discounted price of $35, until Friday. The midway is open at 10 a.m. Saturday and Monday, 11 a.m. Sunday, until closing.
The event will wrap up with the traditional Victoria Day fireworks, Monday at dusk.
This year's stampede proceeds will help pay for a pump track, for bicycles, skateboards and scooters, which will be the next addition to the town-owned Virgil Sports Park. It will be an asphalt track with hills and banked turns, designed for all ages and levels of skills, providing fun for all ages and skill levels, says Penner.
“It's something that has become quite popular and is very successful in other municipalities,” she said. “It could cost anywhere from $150,000 to $300,000 to build, depending on how elaborate it is. The Town hasn't decided on a design yet, so right now it's just conceptual, and the VBA is supporting the concept.”
Gates open at the Virgil Sports Park Saturday, May 19 at 9:30 a.m., Sunday, May 20 at 11 a.m. and Monday, May 21 at 9:30 a.m. Gate admission is $5 for adults, free to kids under 15 Saturday and Monday, with no gate fee Sunday.
For a full schedule of events visit, virgilstampede.com.