Board members of Haying in the 30s are making plans for the annual fundraiser to go ahead this year, in hopes that restrictions will have eased enough by August for the event to run in a semi-normal fashion.
Haying in the 30s is hosted over the August long weekend every year in Mallaig, where guests are taken back to the 1930s in a picturesque village of antiques staffed by volunteers in period costumes.
According to President Martin Naundorf, guests at the event average $200,000 in donations to the charity. The money raised is used to support people in the Lakeland who are living with cancer.
“I just hope we can have the event,” said Naundorf. “The interest is still there and we’re still going to use a lot of donations. Unfortunately, cancer is not going away.”
In 2020, 334 people received support from Haying in the 30s. Naundorf said he knows firsthand how important that support is, having had the experience of being with his wife Esther through her battle with lung cancer and a brain tumour. Her death spurred him to get involved with the charity.
“Some of the testimonials we get are pretty sad. Some of these people, they’re almost the end of their life if they didn’t get thousand dollars that we send,” he said.
In preparation for the event, Naundorf said the board is planning weekly Wednesday work bees starting May 26.
“We’re basically setting up the site. We’ve got to pull covers off all the windows of all the buildings and clean the buildings. Then there’s water and generators and light poles we have to bring in, all those things that have to be set up,” said Naundorf.
He said in a normal year, they would have 10 to 12 people there every Wednesday night leading up to Haying in the 30s with as many as 50 people on site helping closer to the event.
One special project for this year, in addition to the regular maintenance, is setting up the new windmill for operation and expanding the kitchen and cooking area. According to Naundorf, they’ve acquired a working windmill from the now closed Shandro Museum.
“It’s got grindstones inside to make flour,” he said.
Naundorf expects the windmill to be one of the biggest attractions at this year’s event.
The kitchen expansion will create more space for coolers and barbecues to feed the hordes of people who spend time touring the site each year.
Asked if there’s a backup plan for if the province doesn’t ease restrictions, or if things get shut down further over the summer Naundorf said they still need the site operational.
“Last year we did a tour of the site with just the board members and we explained what each building is about and did some of the demos. So we may have to do that again, but I’m hoping they ease these restrictions,” he said.
More decisions about the format of the fundraiser will be made in early June.