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Oct. 15, 2021 | Friday
Local News
Virgil Stampede owes success to army of volunteers
Kaitlin Hinz, Alan Rosselet, Herb Hinz, Ella Hinz, Francisco Del Campo, Maria Del Campo, Dorothea Enns, Emily Enns and Julieanne Enns volunteer at the Virgil Stampede. (Eunice Tang/Special)

The Virgil Stampede owes this year’s success to its small army of volunteers – and proper planning.

Together they ensured everything went off without a hitch despite damp weather leading up to Victoria Day weekend.

The 350 to 400 volunteers who step up each year play a crucial role in ensuring the event runs smoothly, said Richard Wall, president of the Virgil Business Association.

“Obviously to have that many people volunteer is entirely the backbone of our organization, or we wouldn’t raise the funds that we do,” Wall said. “We only have about 35 to 40 members. Without that extra few hundred people it would be impossible to run the event the way we do.”

He said he had initial concerns about moving the midway rides to the parking lot, which was done to reduce mud and ensure public safety. Throughout the weekend, though, he said rides remained full and families were happy with the alternative solution to the wet grounds.

As for lost parking spaces, Wall said he hasn’t heard any negative feedback from residents. In fact, the comments he did receive were all positive, he said.

“We’ve actually received a couple nice letters from local people commenting on it,” he added.

This year, the association decided to increase security for the Stampede. For the first time since the event’s inception, the event was entirely enclosed by fencing and had two secure entrances. The security plan was created in consultation with the Niagara Regional Police.

Viking Security Corp. performed bag checks and ensured public safety throughout the weekend. Wall said he was happy with the level of professionalism exhibited by the company.

Due to the questionable status of the field leading up to the Stampede, Wall said he wasn’t sure if the association would be able to pull it all off.

“A week later, I would definitely say it far exceeded our expectations. It was a tremendous success and we had a great finale fireworks show at the end.”

He said the weekend closed out with a bang.