Over the August long weekend, the hugely popular Haying in the 30’s event took over the grounds south of Mallaig, where an estimated 6,500 people came out to enjoy a weekend unplugged from the hectic pace of modern life. Instead of surfing the net and watching satellite TV, people went back in time to celebrate how things were done in the 1930’s.
The weekend’s donations reached an estimated $175,000, which is a decrease from previous years, but Haying in the 30’s President Lorne Buryn believes that it is a sign of the times in Alberta.
“It is a decrease from about $212,000 last year after the weekend, but we still believe we did well and it still leaves us plenty to help those who are fighting cancer,” said Buryn. “I think we are fortunate to have reached that number and after the rest of the donations trickle in, we’ll be sitting right around the $200,000 mark. We’ve helped 4,400 people over the years - we’re nearing a number that would be like us supporting a town the size of St. Paul.”
Since the event began in 1999, the amount of attractions and exhibits to see has continued to expand, as well as the event’s following, with people coming from across the province and even beyond to attend.
Two of the new attractions this year included a Lawyer/Land titles office, and a funeral chapel to accompany the restored horse-drawn hearse and casket which has been a part of the displays for many recent years.
Gospel music being performed at the church, the beef on a bun supper, and an ole time hoe down Saturday night are just some of the attractions that have made this event a huge success over the years.
Among the returning attractions was the popular tractor PTO driven sawmill, which is operated yearly by volunteers and members of the Wanchuk family. Dennis, and the late Nick and John Wanchuk built the mill and Dennis still operates the mill each year. As always, the demonstrations of the sawmill drew large crowds because of its unique design and efficiency.
Another attraction was Aime Michaud’s Shingle Mill, which was restored by his sons Jeff, Luc, Marcel, Jules, and Real. The Michaud boys were busy running the mill throughout the weekend, which made thin shingles out of shortened sections of logs.
Everything from hand powered and motor powered contraptions, wagon rides, the country creamery, the trappers cabin and the blacksmith kept children and adults alike busy all day as they enjoyed the vast array of 1930’s style machinery. At suppertime on Saturday, the kitchen volunteers were hard at work as they served 2,300 people in less than an hour, showing how organized and fast the volunteers could be.
This year marked the last time that the beef that was prepared for supper was cooked using a large fire pit with a hand crank crane that suspended a large pan that could hold about 15 roasts above the fire. The group has now purchased ovens that will be used to cook the roasts beginning next year and beyond, but the fire pit will still be used if it is needed as a backup.
The event’s goal is to raise funds to support people battling cancer.
Buryn extended thanks to all of the volunteers for the hard work they put in throughout the weekend and throughout the year.
“The volunteers worked hard, our teamsters that came were great, giving the wagon rides and doing demonstrations. We had 45 horse teams this year, which I think is the most we’ve ever had. Everything went without a hitch, no injuries besides scratches and bruises on kids playing in the hay stack.”
While the event is free, many reach into their pockets to donate to the cause, knowing people personally who have benefitted from the cancer support group. St. Paul’s Kay Anderson was diagnosed with cancer last September, and she received help from the Haying in the 30’s Cancer support Society. Her son Justin decided that he wanted to give back at this year’s Haying in the 30’s and set a goal to raise at least $1,000 dollars in exchange for dying his beard pink. Justin surpassed his goal, and raised $1,600 dollars for Haying in the 30’s, and indeed, his beard is now a bright shade of pink.
Haying in the 30’s accepts donations year-round on their website, hayinginthe30s.com, for anyone still interested in contributing to the cause.