Chris Vitiello said he loves the close-knit nature of his hometown of Val Caron.
“You walk in the grocery store, and there's no way you don't run into anybody you know,” he said.
To show his appreciation for the area, the co-owner of Hanmer's Cousin Vinny's Restaurant and Bar has taken on a leadership role with Valley East Days, which runs this year Sept. 5-7.
“I'm just proud to put on and organize all of this,” Vitiello said. “When I walk around (at the event) and see all of the kids and families that are happy, it makes my day.”
Valley East Days, taking place largely at the Hanmer Valley Shopping Centre, features more than 60 events, many made possible by local businesspeople, he said.
The lineup includes hot air balloon rides, a barbecue, inflatable bouncy castles, mechanical bull riding, a reptile demonstration, zumba, a teddy bear picnic, a magic show and horse rides.
The event also includes several free concerts during the day, including tributes to Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Beyonce and Shania Twain.
Tickets to the evening concerts, including Ice Breaker, Toe Jam Tequila and Karl Wolf on Sept. 5, and tributes to Lynard Skynard, Creedance Clearwater Revival and AC/DC on Sept. 6, cost $30 each.
A car show featuring more than 100 classic vehicles will be set up at the mall Sept. 7. New this year is the Snap Ultimate Fitness Challenge, a fitness obstacle course being put on Sept. 6 by Snap Fitness Valley East.
One of the bigger events is the King Miner Competition on Sept. 6-7, involving miners from across the region demonstrating their skills, with a chance to win more than $5,000 in prizes. The event is put on by Steelworkers Local 6500.
For a full listing of events, visit valleyeastdays.com.