KINGSTON, NS - A stampede took place in Kingston July 14, and while a bovine was certainly to blame, the stampeders themselves were those from around the Annapolis Valley drawn to the savoury smell of spit-roasted steer which filled the air.
Originally started by a group of businessmen in the Village of Kingston in 1960, the annual Kingston Steer Barbecue and Village Fair took place for its 59th year July 13-14 – the longest running continuous outdoor whole steer barbecue in North America.
The events at the Credit Union Centre Grounds were kicked off by the Grand Street Parade and included approximately 40 floats from businesses and organizations around Kingston, Greenwood and the surrounding area.
Lori Brouwers, an Annapolis Valley native who relocated to Calgary, watched the parade with her children, who had never seen a parade in person before.
“The parades in Calgary are so big, and everything is so busy, it’s hard to be able to get the kids out to watch,” said Brouwers. “But this was great for their first parade, they all loved it.”
In addition to the parade and traditional events that take place each year, this year’s celebrations saw a variety of new events around the park, including an outdoor flea market, crazy cow costume contest, BMX trick demonstrations, circus performances and more.
The crazy cow costume contest, organized by Muriel West, encouraged people to use their imagination to show their spirit for the event in fun and creative ways by dressing up.
“We want to beef things up with a little bit of spirit,” said West. “And we’re hoping the event will milk everyone’s imaginations.”
Prizes for outstanding costumes were given spontaneously to those around the fair grounds.
Across the street from the fair grounds, in Centennial Park, was the flea market, organized by local legion member Lawrence Bent, with help from his wife Dale.
From Bad Apple Brewhouse growler bottles to power tools, wool sweaters to glass figurines - and just about everything imaginable in between - the market had something for everyone.
The volunteer steer roasters have come a long way since the early days of the barbecue, when those in charge were learning how to prepare the steer as they went along. But the length of the process hasn’t changed as much, with the steer being spit-roasted for about 16 hours overnight.
Dana Sanford, one of the many volunteers preparing the steer, has taken part in the preparing process for the past three years. It’s something he’s always happy to be part of, he said.
“It’s great to be able to be part of giving back to the community and support the Lion’s Club, while also doing something I enjoy and having fun at the same time,” said Sanford.
Andre Cotnoir, chairman of the Kingston Steer Barbecue and Village Fair Committee, said he’s very pleased with this year’s turn out of approximately 2,100 attendees, and added that, with all of the new events, this year’s celebration was one of the greatest so far.
“I would like to thank everybody that took part, and provided tremendous assistance, in making the event such a great success this year,” said Cotnoir. “And I’m looking forward to having everyone come back again to make next year even better.”
In addition, Cotnoir would like to give a special thanks to Paul Parsons and Fraser’s Pro Home Centre for 20 years providing the steer for the barbecue.
Next year’s event, which will mark the 60th anniversary, Cotnoir hopes to make the celebration even more special, but said he won’t share what secrets he and his committees will have in store.
“You’ll just have to wait and see for yourself next year,” said Cotnoir.
Go online: See a slideshow of photos at KingsCountyNews.ca