All of the participants in the 2018 edition of the Vankleek Hill Horse and Buggy Parade passed by in front of the grandstand at the Vankleek Hill fairgrounds, where the strawberry social event took place after the parade. Photo: Sharon Graves-McRae

Horse and buggy parade, strawberry social a galloping success!

On Saturday, July 8, several of Vankleek Hill’s streets were closed to vehicle traffic – and that was to make way for the horses, wagons and buggies which were part of the annual Horse and Buggy Parade. For this year’s parade, almost 100 horses took to the road in a grand display of fine horsemanship and beautiful carriages.

Meanwhile, at the Vankleek Hill Fairgrounds, the strawberry social, produced by the Vankleek Hill Farmers Market served fresh strawberries and ice cream to over 300 guests. More than 100 worshipers attended the ecumenical church service in the morning in the open air.

“What a beautiful day we all had,” says organizer of Excellent Events, Samme Putzel.

“The weather was fantastic, and hundreds of friends turned out to enjoy this celebration of Canadian summer at its finest.”

Special thanks goes out to Fire Chief, Michel Martin, and the Vankleek Hill Volunteer Fire Department.

“The Vankleek Hill Fire Department looks after us in so many ways,” says Putzel. “We cannot thank them enough for keeping these events safe for our visitors and residents as we parade around town as they look out for our welfare. We are very lucky to have them as part of the town events.”

Horse-drawn carriages included a buckwagon from the 1800s, as well as home-made carts and antique farm wagons. Rolland Massie, 91, drove in a Meadowbrook cart pulled by his 21-year-old standardbred mare, Gertie. Robert Kirby’s beautiful team of black Percherons, driven by Michel Ouimet promoted the upcoming Prescott County Plowing Match taking place on September 8 in Alfred. Horseback riders displayed a variety of saddle styles, colours and breeds of horses. Canadian horses were the most popular breed among horse owners at the parade. Other rare breeds, Gypsy Vanners, a Missouri Fox Trotter and Connemaras were present, as well as several Arabians, quarter horses, welsh ponies and heavy drafts.

“At least four of our participants have been coming to this parade every year for the past 22 years,” says Putzel. “We are looking forward to seeing them again next year, same time, same place.”


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