“Yes, I’m concerned,” said Mayor Normand Riopel of Champlain Township, regarding the cancellation this year of the Vankleek Hill Agricultural Society’s annual country fair and also of the Oktoberfest, that local brewery, Beau’s All Natural Beer sponsors. “But everybody is in the same boat,” Riopel said, noting cancellation of many major festival events in Toronto, Ottawa, and other urban centres.
Mayor François St-Amour of The Nation Municipality made the same observation when asked for his thoughts about cancellation of this year’s Riceville Fair and the annual Saint-Albert Curd Festival. “They are cancelled,” he said, “and it’s for the same reason everywhere. It’s disappointing, nobody likes it, but there’s nothing you can do about it.”
One concern St-Amour noted is how cancellation of this year’s festival events could affect planning for next year’s schedule. “A lot of volunteers get involved in this,” St-Amour said. “If for one year it stops, is everyone (volunteers) going to come back afterwards?”
Riopel expressed optimism that next year could see a bigger surge of public interest in local festivals, if nothing interferes with their comeback scheduling. “There may be more participation next year,” he said. “Maybe we’ll be looking at bigger crowds and more (festival) outings.”
With notes from Maude Lévesque-Ryan