Some big improvements are happening at the Vankleek Hill fairgrounds this year.
Thanks to an Ontario 150 Ontario Trillium Foundation grant, electrical upgrades totaling $50,000 will be completed just in time for this year’s Vankleek Hill Fair, according to Vankleek Hill Agricultural Society president Bev Newton. Seventy-five per cent, or about $36,000, was received by the agricultural society to make this project possible.
The improvements were long overdue, says Newton, and include new transformers and ultimately, more capacity for the beer gardens, stables and show hall. Additional electrical upgrades are needed to add more power at the stage performance area, but Newton said nonetheless, the current work is a big step forward.

“It’s a big plus for all of us,” Newton said, adding that the fair board is extremely happy to get the work done.
A second grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation as part of its Accessibility strategy made it possible for the agricultural society to upgrade its accessibility to the men’s and women’s washrooms at the fairgrounds. The agricultural society received about $11,250 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation; the agricultural society kicked in the remaining 25 per cent of the $15,000 project. This work was completed in time for the Strawberry Social, which took place on July 9, said Newton.
No other major work has been undertaken at the fairgrounds this year, Newton noted.
But sprucing up the fair board’s office space, painting floors, and the creation of a secure storage space were on this year’s to-do list and will be completed by the time the fair gets underway in two weeks’ time.
In addition, picnic tables are getting a fresh coat of paint.
Bev Newton is completing his second year of a two-year term as president. For 2018-2019, Jeff Leroy will return as president, having already served as fair president about 10 years ago.

Newton says that in recent years, the agricultural society has taken on more projects and adds that without volunteers, things would not run as smoothly as they do.
Adding a June truck pull event, hosting Oktoberfest and other special events adds work and management time for volunteers.
“But if everyone does their part, we make it all work. We are each just one of many. Everybody works together and that’s the beauty of Vankleek Hill,” Newton said.
“It’s a big commitment, but we always get everything done. It has worked that way for 173 years, and I hope it continues for another 173 years,” Newton concluded.