Sunny weather brings crowd out to Chapple Days

Although many district residents spent the past weekend under the big tent at the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship, hundreds of others gathered at the Both Farm in Barwick on Friday evening and Saturday for the annual Chapple Days events.
“I think we had the biggest crowds we’ve ever had both Friday night and Saturday,” enthused Rilla Race, chair of the Chapple Heritage Committee, the group which organized the activities.
She estimated about 175 residents enjoyed the bonfire, music and wiener roast on Friday, while close to 300 attended the event on Saturday.
“And we were able to raise more money than usual for the museum,” Race added, calculating approximately a $1,000 profit for the Heritage Museum.
She noted she wasn’t sure why the larger turnout this year, but suggested word of mouth and the nice weather.
“I think some things just grow by word of mouth from the previous year and it was a really beautiful weekend,” Race said. “The weather was really co-operative.”
And she explained the event was a bonafide success, likely due to the larger crowd and some new activities, such as trail rides, a tug-of-war, a watermelon eating contest, and a wood carving demonstration by Rick Neilson.
“Kids seemed to be having a great time eating watermelon and that kind of thing, and I know there was a fair crowd around watching the carving,” remarked Race.
Neilson’s wooden sculpture was auctioned off at the end of the day for a total of $250.
But Race added people still enjoy the old favourites, as well.
“People really enjoyed the tractor pull, seeing all the different tractors—it’s kind of a farm thing,” she remarked. “And last year it was just tractors, but this year they had four-wheelers, lawnmowers, and little kiddie vehicles competing.”
Mark Husser, on his 1970 John Deere, took the top honours at the tractor pull.
The results are as follows:
Class A
•Ben Vandrunen—1946 Allis Chalmers (1st)
•Betty Salchert—1945 John Deere (2nd)
•Charlie Morken—1949 Allis Chalmers (3rd)
Class B
•Charlie Morken—1920 Rumely (1st)
•James Steiner—1929 Fordson (2nd)
•Randy Both—1947 Massey Harris (3rd)
Class C
•Phil Friesen—1937 Model D John Deere (1st)
•Rod Carter—1946 W6 International (2nd)
•Charlie Morken—1950 John Deere (3rd)
Class D
•Dave Ball—1959 John Deere 830 (1st)
•Wayne Salchert—1944 John Deere (2nd)
•Alf Redford—1948 Massey Harris (3rd)
Results were not announced for the four-wheeler pull, as it was difficult to judge who had the best pull. And it was noted, the event is more about having fun than winning.
“People also really seemed to enjoy the Friday night,” Race noted. “It’s mostly just a time to get together with your neighbours and friends. And they have music and food and people seem to really enjoy just doing that—It’s just a really relaxing evening.”
And lunch on Saturday was also a big success.
“We did over 120 bagged lunches until we ran out of them and then we had to start cooking hotdogs,” Race enthused, citing she didn’t think there was one activity that was “a miss.”
“Everything seemed to have a certain following,” she said. “I think it was really important that we had activities other than the [tractor and four-wheeler] pulls—things that the ladies could take part in, that the kids could take part in, and it was kind of a family day.”
Chapple Days has been running annually since the municipality’s centennial in 1999. And it’s been held at the Both farm—complete with barn, farmhouse museum, and blacksmith shop—each year.
“We decided we should continue having at least one day a year for a Chapple event,” Race stressed. “And [the Both farm] is a wonderful place to hold it.”
Race explained the Chapple Heritage Committee tries to vary the activities every year to keep the interest up with something new.
“You try and put in some new things and then assess it after the event is over and see what worked, what didn’t, and what you might change for next year,” she added, citing the committee will get together near the end of this month to examine the event.
“For the most part things went well, but we kind of tinker with things a bit every year, add a few new things,” Race stated, noting it takes a lot of work to put on an event like this.
“We probably had in the neighbourhood of 40 volunteers that worked at various aspects of it over the weekend,” she said. “A huge production goes on before the event getting everything ready—there’s a lot of work involved. . . So we really appreciate the people the people we come out each year.
“It’s a huge community effort,” Race indicated. “We do use it as a fundraiser for the museum, but a huge part of it is just the community getting together and having a fun day.”