SOUTH MOUNTAIN – The Mountain Township Agricultural Society’s hall in South Mountain has come a long way from its onetime use as a pen for barnyard animals during the village’s annual summertime fair.

The years have been kind to the structure, with an increased square-footage to shift its use to a hall for all occasions.

Throughout the last 10 years, one woman has overseen a lot of this change. But, as the phrase goes, all good things must come to an end.

Mountain Township Agricultural Society president Alan Burns is pictured alongside Joanne Havekes, the new hall manager for the organization’s facility in South Mountain. Havekes takes over from Rhonda Holmes, who oversaw the hall for the past decade. Press Photo – Uhrig

A new year means a new manager for the hall, with Rhonda Holmes capping her decade-long run as the facility’s manager.

“It’s amazing,” she said. “To look at what it was, to what it is now, it’s a changed hall.”

More than anything, it’s a wonder what an upgraded facility will do for its character, and its view to the public.

At the South Mountain hall, change has been consistent with the physical nature of the space, with an updated exterior and interior, fully accessible entrances, a new dance floor, and bar and kitchen space, not to mention improved washroom facilities.

Much of this work came thanks to a community that gave when called upon by agricultural society members. The public’s good fortune proved to be a welcomed recipe for success and updates at the hall.

“It’s been a honour to be part of this, and to be part of this community,” Holmes said.   

To put it into perspective, the hall has gone from limited use, to bookings nearly every weekend and upwards of 70 weddings yearly.

Taking the reins is Joanne Havekes, a longtime agricultural society supporter and chairperson for the baby show, who also dabbles with other township causes, including Community Food Share.

“I’m totally excited,” Havekes said, adding that Holmes will be hard to replace, but she remains just a phone call or text away.   

Agricultural society president Alan Burns noted that the organization is “extremely happy” with Havekes’ hiring.

“We’re sad to see Rhonda go, but we’ll be in good hands with Joanne,” he said.