Eastern Ontario tractor parades piling up

A participant in John Cinnamon's Winchester tractor parade during Dairyfest, circa 2016. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

Tom Van Dusen
Nation Valley News

VANKLEEK HILL — A third tractor parade has been announced for Eastern Ontario this month, this time as a partial replacement for the annual Vankleek Hill Fair crushed like all other Ontario farm fairs by COVID-19.

In fact, if rain dates kick in, the three parades could all roll out Aug. 16 in Vankleek Hill, Winchester and St. Albert. The 45-minute parade on the Hill departs the fairgrounds at 1 p.m. and ends at the same location.

Organizers emphasize that a detailed COVID-19 protection plan has been submitted to the Eastern Ontario Health Unit and cooperation is being requested from participants in making sure everything runs smoothly… including the antique tractors.

The two previously announced mass tractor rides are through St. Albert Aug. 15 and Winchester Aug. 9; both events have set Aug. 16 as rain date. As in the Hill parade, organizers have asked for cooperation from participants and spectators in social distancing and masking where necessary.

A little rain didn’t stop the 2020 Winchester tractor parade. Watch the event, below.

In St. Albert, volunteers will police the start point at the community centre and the end point at St. Albert Cheese Factory reminding participants of their pandemic obligations.

The ultimate goal of the Winchester ride is to put smiles on the faces at Dundas Manor which the tractors will pass and salute elderly residents, said organizer John Cinnamon. However, there may be a hitch this year because of COVID-19, permitting only a few residents to view the procession at any time.

At Vankleek Hill, two people per tractor will be permitted onto the fairgrounds with a maximum of 100 including organizing volunteers allowed. All must be registered ahead of time and check in at the gate; a list will be maintained to facilitate contact tracing should that become necessary. General observers will not be let into the fairgrounds.

Volunteers will be masked and participants will be asked to do the same when interacting; social distancing must be maintained. During the parade, tractors because of their size will naturally ensure social distancing between participants.

The public will be advised of the route and asked to social distance, to the extent of remaining in their vehicles if that’s possible. The VK Hill Fire Department will assist with traffic control and in escorting the parade.

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