A Holstein show was held at the downsized Vankleek Hill Agricultural Fair in 2021. Photo: Reid Masson

The Vankleek Hill Agricultural Fair is back in all its glory for 2022, as the popular event returns to the Vankleek Hill Fairgrounds from August 18 to 21, with a full schedule planned over the four days.

“After two years of limbo we’re glad to get this organized,” said Al Nixon, President of the Vankleek Hill Agricultural Society, who has received a great deal of positive feedback on the return of the popular fair. “People are really happy to be back in fair mode.”

While the fair was cancelled in 2020, the agricultural society was able to hold a downsized event in 2021 with a Holstein show, Western riding events and a car rally. While it was a success, the 2021 fair couldn’t hold a candle to the real thing.

“It’s been tough the past two years,” understated Nixon, noting the 2021 downsized edition was a fraction of the size of the fair in normal years. “It was pretty small compared to what we’re used to, but at least we were able to have something.”

For many people in the area, the Vankleek Hill Fair is a big part of their summer, Nixon said, and it has not been the same for the past two years.

“I’ve looked forward to it ever since I was a little kid,” explained the Vankleek Hill Fair president, who has been attending the annual event for more than 60 years. “We always brought our cows and that was our summer holiday; going to the fair.”

The fun kicks off on Thursday, August 18, with cattle arriving all day at the Exhibit Hall. The midway opens at 4 p.m. and the official opening of the fair takes place in front or the grandstand at 7 p.m. At 7:30 p.m. the weekend’s action starts with the Combine Derby, while Ambush gets the music started at 9:30 p.m. in the Show Barn.

Friday at 10 a.m., will feature the Heavy Horse Line Classes in front of the grandstand, while the Holstein Show begins at the same time in the South East Ring. Action continues all day on Friday, closing with the Wild Horse Club’s Western Games at 6:30 p.m., followed by the Horse Pull Competition at 7 p.m. Music on Friday includes Charlie Andrews from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Show Barn, followed by Rainwater Whiskey as the featured entertainment beginning at 9:30 p.m.

Saturday is always the biggest day at the fair and kicks off at 8 a.m. with the Extreme Cowboy Race in the Light/Western Horse Ring. Fridge Full of Empties plays in the Show Barn from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., followed by Silver Wings at 9:30 p.m.

Of course, the big event on Saturday is the Demolition Derby, which will begin in front of the main grandstand at 7 p.m.

“We have 55 or 56 cars this year,” said Nixon, who organized the demo derby for many years. “Everybody’s really ready to go.”

Sunday, August 21, is the final day of the fair and features the English Light Horse Show at 8:30 a.m., as well as an antique equipment display beginning at 10 a.m. in the Centre Ring. The Volleyball Tournament begins at 11 a.m. on a sand court, while the Farm Stock and Antique Tractor Pull take place at the same time. Hadrian’s Wall performs from noon until 2:30 p.m. in the Show Barn, followed by Mariner’s Curse, who will close out the weekend’s events with a live closing performance from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The full schedule of events for the Vankleek Hill Agricultural Fair can be found in the August 3 or 10 editions of The Review, or by visiting the fair website at https://vankleekhillfair.ca/fair-schedule/ . More information can also be found on the Vankleek Hill Agricultural Society Fair Facebook page at www.facebook.com/VKHAgriculturalFair/ .

Unlike 2021, the grandstands at the Vankleek Hill Fairground will be filled to capacity for the 2022 Agricultural Fair. Photo: Reid Masson