Killaloe Fair – leaving only footprints and good vibes

 Almost half a century has passed since the first spark of community spirit and volunteerism manifested a weekend music festival in the Killaloe hills. Hosted on the farm of Fern Zadra, this event was the catalyst for a community vision and the undertaking to host and organize an annual festival of music and the arts. The proceeds of several more successful festivals, coupled with a long list of $100 community donors, enabled the Killaloe Fair to incorporate as a not-for-profit organization and purchase their current property on Mountainview Road. Before AND After Photo: leaving only footprints at the Killaloe Fair (photo Tao Organ)

Throughout the years the Killaloe Craft and Community Fair has ebbed, flowed, and evolved to a family friendly weekend festival, featuring Friday and Saturday mainstage headliner bands, day stage performers, DJs, dance, craft booths, food venders, kids’ programming, workshops, parade, camping, and so much more.

Volunteers are the glue

The consistent thread that is the glue of the Killaloe Fair is their volunteers. Thousands of hours are given to organize and execute all details, big and small. The camaraderie of community is what keeps long time volunteers engaged, and welcomes new helpers to find their niche.

When the last of the drums have silenced, guests have packed their tents and cars … the fair site is left with a sigh of exuberant Sunday calm, with a pocketful of wonderful memories, and yes, an enormous pile of garbage and recycling.

Anyone wandering the fair site on Sunday may have noticed the insurmountable effort made in the waste disposal area. For anyone who wonders, we are proud to say that the Killaloe Fair 2022 Volunteer of the Year, did indeed sort all of the recycling from garbage – and vice versa! That no recycling or compost ended up in landfill makes the Killaloe Fair’s heart sing as they have strived throughout the years to promote  “leave no trace”  environmental consciousness to their guests, volunteers and organization!

 With volunteer jobs that are a little less than glamorous, it is the volunteer who adds that touch of glory to even mundane tasks. The Killaloe Fair would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to Gus Zylstra, to sing the praises of this unsung hero who took it upon himself to make sure the Killaloe Fair wrapped up the weekend responsibly, with ethical waste management.

Gus carries with him the highest regard for nature and community, leading by example to share his softly treading soles and soul, wherever he goes.

 “I’ve been coming to the Killaloe Fair since the 1970s after hearing about it on CBC Radio. I loved the feeling of community that the Fair evoked, and now that I am retired can dedicate my time as a volunteer, both in helping set up the site before the event, and again after to ensure that only the echo of good vibes are left behind. I am already looking forward to next summer,” said Zylstra, who owns Pinecone Forest, a private nature reserve in Boulter.

 To recognize his selfless dedication to the planet and the Killaloe Fair, the board and festival organizers unanimously agree that Gus is the 2022 Killaloe Fair Volunteer of the Year!

Current Killaloe Craft and Community Fair president Tao Organ presenting Gus Zylstra with volunteer appreciation Killaloe Fair Hoodie (photo: Laura Organ)

Volunteering brings out the best in people — it “leaves only good vibes” to borrow a Killaloe Fair motto, and from Gus himself.

The Killaloe Fair invites Gus to inspire others: both in volunteering to make a better community and also  to be aware of the traces we leave, whether it be at the fair or in our own lives. As simple as choosing the proper garbage or recycling receptacle or using products that minimize packaging waste.

It is the Fair’s ultimate hope that guests will work with us in our efforts to minimize the need to sort the festival garbage — so folks like Gus can put their energy into other areas of the festival and be able to kick back and enjoy the final hours of the fair on Sunday afternoon, instead of pulling banana peels out of container recycling.

Save the date

The 2023 Killaloe Craft and Community Fair will be held August 11, 12 and 13.

For more information and to get involved, please visit the Killaloe Fair website.

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