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Niagara Falls
Tuesday, May 28, 2024
Editorial: Thank a Virgil Stampede volunteer this year
The vast majority of everything going on at the Virgil Stampede is done on a volunteer basis — a giant community of like-minded and well-intentioned people who keep this tradition alive, writes Richard Harley. EVAN SAUNDERS/FILE PHOTO

It’s time again for the Virgil Stampede.

The annual carnival is a sure sign of better weather, the end of frost warnings and the start of what is basically summer in our wee enclave here in southern Ontario.

It’s a time children and adults alike look forward to, whether it be the rides for kids, a romantic spin on the Ferris wheel for couples or nostalgic back bacon on a bun.

The nickel sale is always a highlight, too.

It’s time for children to bust out their piggy banks to play some of the games and win some prizes.

But aside from the thrills and belly fills, one thing the Virgil Stampede always reminds us of here at The Lake Report is how many selfless individuals it takes to make an event like this happen.

The vast majority of work to plan and run the stampede is done on a volunteer basis. Maybe for a free hotdog.

There are the people who run the gates every year, standing outside for hours to make sure everything goes smoothly.

There are the countless volunteers who help run the food booths, along with generous donations from local businesses like Phil’s Independent.

There are people like Sharon VanNoort, who have an unwavering dedication to planning new and interesting attractions and who spend countless hours just recruiting volunteers for every other aspect.

There is the Virgil Business Association, which plans the event, pays for it and uses the opportunity to raise money that goes directly back into the community for things like our splash pad in Virgil, or kids sports.

There are the people who help plot and plan the always-amazing fireworks display on Monday night.

Just planning the parking spots for such a massively popular event is a huge undertaking — things we might not often think about when we stroll in.

It’s a giant community of like-minded and well-intentioned people who keep this tradition alive and growing stronger every year, with many of them working behind the scenes, never hearing a thank you.

So, we’ll say it — thanks to all involved for your contributions. That’s what Niagara-on-the-Lake is all about.

Now if only that darn rain would hold off just for one Stampede weekend.

Almost as far back as we can remember, rain has plagued the Stampede.

Muddy grass, rides sinking into the ground.

It’s almost comical.

But even if there is rain this year (looks like Saturday might be wet), we hope everyone makes it out to enjoy a bit of the fun.

And while you’re there, be sure to thank the volunteers who are giving their time to put on this event for all of the community to enjoy.

They’ll appreciate it.


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