Local. Yes, local bands and performers are the key to success at the Vankleek Hill Food Bank Jamboree, which takes place every year as a fundraiser for the Vankleek Hill Food Bank.
This year’s event takes place on Saturday, July 8, from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. under a big tent in the Windsor Tavern parking lot.
The entertainment line-up includes Uncle George and Johnny MacCaskill, bringing some old-time fiddle favourites and guitar favourites by these veteran performers. MacCaskill recently launched a CD after a 40-year career performing across the region.
Next up are Paddy Kelly and Ashley MacLeod, two of Glengarry’s favourite performers, bringing their own brand of Scottish ballads and fiddle tunes to the stage.
At 5 p.m., the Alleykatts take to the stage for a fun-filled hour of rock tunes; this band hails from Brownsburg, Quebec and they are regulars at outdoor terrasses in Lachute and made their Vankleek Hill debut at Yes, Women Can earlier this year.
Following the Alleykatts, popular local group “The Outlaws” will be onstage with some country favourites and will take a short break at 7 p.m. when Louise Stephenson presents a 15-minute “Zumba Break” before the event moves on into the evening.
At 7:15 p.m., The Outlaws will return for a 30-minute set, followed by some blues for dancing at 8 p.m. by local band, “Rude Mood.”
At 9:30 p.m., the Jamboree welcomes Terry Gillespie onstage for more swinging blues and reggae to get everyone on their feet dancing.
DJ Gord Nixon will emcee the entire event and there will be lots of prizes give out during the evening.
Every ticket-holder for the Jamboree has the chance to win a two-night trip for two to Niagara wine country, including wine tours and tastings, a buffet breakfast and one brunch as well as dinner at one of the Niagara Parks restaurants and luggage for their trip, all valued at $1,200 and donated to the Jamboree courtesy of the Travel Agent Next Door (Amanda Ficzere).
Since its inception five years ago, the Jamboree has donated more than $70,000 to the Vankleek Hill Food Bank.
Event sponsors Windsor Tavern (providing event logistics and support) and The Review (providing event advertising, printing, tickets, programmes, etc) have been part of the event from its beginnings, joining event founder Richard Charest, working together to make this event possible, with support from volunteers like the Vankleek Hill Volunteer Fire department, assisting to erect the tent and providing security and other volunteers who staff the gates at the event and assist with other tasks.
Other committee members include Irene and Lloyd Howes and the Reverend Robert Martin (treasurer of the Community Assistance Fund Enterprise (CAFÉ), which operates the Vankleek Hill Food Bank).
Professional sound and lighting is purchased from Bobby Lalonde Music, who always provides an appreciated discount to make this event profitable.
A barbecue will be set up onsite, with all food proceeds going to the Vankleek Hill Synchro Skating Club.
Major sponsors support the Jamboree with a minimum donation of $300 and minor sponsors donate funds to the event, too.
Organizers work with performers to ensure that performer costs are covered for this event.
A special note of appreciation goes to Scotiabank in Vankleek Hill, which has supported this effort since its beginnings, in addition to providing volunteers to help out at the admission gates. Scotiabank matches funds raised to a maximum of $5,000 as part of its Team Scotia Community Programme.
The three-person organizing committee, consisting of Mike St. Denis from the Windsor Tavern, Richard Charest and Review publisher Louise Sproule, works closely with the CAFÉ, which deposits all funds received and issues cheques for performers and other expenses.
“It is really overwhelming – the support that we receive from this event and from other local businesses and individuals who do so much for the Vankleek Hill Food Bank,” noted the Reverend Robert Martin.
“From Nicko’s, which organizes toys at Christmas for children in need, to Home Hardware which holds an annual ladies’ night, to the annual door-to-door food collection (the guignolée) . . . to all of the other efforts in town, people’s generosity is quite amazing,” said the Reverend Martin.
Tickets for the event are on sale for $10 in advance at Scotiabank in Vankleek Hill, at The Review, at the Windsor Tavern and at Dépanneur Lalonde, all in Vankleek Hill.
Charest reminds everyone that every ticket purchased translates into a chance to win the Grand Prize trip to the Niagara wine region.
Tickets at the door will be $12 per person. The gates open at 2 p.m.
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