“We’re very happy about this year’s turnout. It’s important, especially now, to celebrate health and happiness. We’re carrying on tradition,” Samme Putzel said.
This year marked the 10th anniversary for the Wee Irish Fest in Vankleek Hill. Putzel, the event organizer and owner of Excellent Events, took over the business from her late husband, Phil Arber, after he passed away in 2017.
Parade floats gathered at the Vankleek Hill arena parking lot at 36 Mill Street. They proceeded East on Wall Street, North on Union, and West on Main Street, ending at Kirklane, in front of the Creating Centre at 12 Main Street.
About 36 people from the community attended the parade. There were eleven people in the parade with seven entries, including Champlain Township, the VKH Fire Department, The Fraser Family, Pierre Cusson on his tractor and three cars from Excellent Events. However, there was only one local family, the Frasers, who brought their two children for the parade. They’ve been participating in the parade for years, according to Putzel.
“Excellent Events celebrates community, in a safe and happy environment. That’s why we do it. It is so important to remember the quality of life right now,” she said.
A local band, 50 Proof, played on the street, where some onlookers gathered and listened to them. They have been playing for years for Excellent Events, according to Putzel.
Down the street, at the Creating Centre, the Vankleek Hill Old Time Fiddlers were playing for the few families who stopped by to share some food and good spirit at the Post Parade Pot Luck, despite the dark times shrouding everyone’s minds. The Fiddlers have been playing in the area for 40 years, according to Putzel, who also took her fiddle and joined them.