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Betty Riel Tractor Parade rolls into its fifth year

The tractor parade to benefit the Betty Riel Foundation took to the streets on June 24 for its fifth year of raising funds for the local organization that provides transport for cancer patients in the Haut-Saint-Laurent.

At least 37 tractors and their drivers participated in this year’s event, which departed from Lorne McNaughton’s farm in Hinchinbrooke before rolling through Rockburn and eventually Huntingdon, to end at the fairgrounds where a spaghetti supper was waiting. A thankful Betty Riel was on hand to welcome the drivers.

Organizer Kevin Dineen estimates the activity raised about $6,000 for the foundation. “It went pretty good,” he says. “Betty was happy, so that’s all that counts.” He credits fellow organizers Ken Elder, Steve Ovans, and Raymond Craig with helping to stage another great parade. “If it weren’t for them, it wouldn’t be much of a success,” he says.

 

A line of tractors driving down a county road.
At least 37 tractors paraded past the General Store in Athelstan on June 24 on the final leg of the annual tractor parade to benefit the Betty Riel Foundation PHOTO Sarah Rennie

 

Since the parade first took place in 2019, close to $30,000 has been donated to the foundation. “I think we had around 17 tractors in that first year,” says Dineen, noting the number has varied between that and a high of around 70 tractors.

In the same way the Betty Riel Foundation covers the entire Haut-Saint-Laurent region, Dineen says they try to ensure the parade covers much of the Valley, switching each year between the Howick and Ormstown area and Huntingdon, Hinchinbrooke and Godmanchester. Drivers come from across the region, including a substantial group from Howick who participated again this year.

“It’s a fun day,” says Dineen, with a laugh. “And it’s for a good cause.” (SR)

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