Village receives bragging rights after winning Small Town Challenge

Facebook photo The Village of McAdam has received bragging rights after winning the Fredericton New Country 92.3 FM Small Town Challenge. Mayor Ken Stannix said it has been a great two or three years for the village, and winning this honor is the icing on the cake.

McAdam – McAdam residents are enjoying bragging rights after winning the Fredericton radio station New Country 92.3 FM Small Town Challenge. McAdam Mayor Ken Stannix said it was quite interesting the contest came along when COVID-19 has “everybody’s rapt attention” and people are staying at home.

“It’s very interesting that this challenge would come at this particular time,” said Stannix. “I know it had been going on for a while, and all of the sudden, it was catching fire in the village. There were 16 communities taking part. They’re all nice communities, but it was nice to see in McAdam this ray of sunshine that we had won this challenge. For me, it just shows the pride in this community, and the folks that were putting the energy behind it to encourage everybody to vote.”

Stannix said he heard about the contest after residents were calling others and telling them to vote for McAdam on the station’s website. Stannix didn’t know anything about it until about a week before it was announced that McAdam had won. He said at that point, there were a “few champions within the community” who were pushing people to vote for McAdam.

“I’m pretty proud of the fact that McAdam won the Small Town Challenge this year. It’s quite a little bragging right to say that. They’re all great communities, and every one of them would be a great place to live, I’m sure. But, we’ll take the bragging rights on this one.”

New Country 92.3 Program Director Richard Jones said this is the second year the station has held the Small Town Challenge. Originally, the contest had been a March Madness basketball bracket, pitting basketball teams against each other. This year, they decided to put small towns against small towns, and get people excited about their communities. Later in the year, The Morning Show with John will be in McAdam to feature the village in a broadcast.

“Once we’re all allowed to congregate again, John, our host of the Morning Show, and our staff, will be coming out to an event of their (Village of McAdam) choice. We’ll come and do a broadcast,” said Jones.

Jones said he was amazed at the number of votes received for this competition, saying it was “off the charts”. He said during the final weekend of voting, there were more than 50,000 votes for the two remaining towns, and that it was fun to see small towns going against small towns, with people really getting into it.

The voting was set up differently than it had been in the past. For other contests, people were allowed one vote per day, per device. This year, that was changed to one vote per device, period. This was so the station could get more realistic numbers. Jones said the station received many calls from people who were angry that they couldn’t vote several times.

“It’s really picked up some steam, and people really looked forward to it,” said Jones. “I think we’ll do another one next year when it comes around to March Madness again. We recognize that the bulk of our listenership is from McAdam to Harvey to Nackawick. Country is small town, and we just thought it was a cool way to reach out to our listeners.”

Stannix said he isn’t sure when New County 92.3 FM will be visiting the Village of McAdam due to the fact that the province is under self-isolation orders in order to curb the spread of COVID-19. He said they will be featured in a future broadcast, once the virus is “wrestled to the ground”. He finds it interesting that the power of the Internet and Facebook could help the Village accomplish this honor while everyone is in self-isolation.

Stannix said winning the Small Town Challenge isn’t the only great thing that has happened in McAdam recently. The little village, which had once been a major railway center, had been seeing smaller and smaller populations, until recent months anyway, and Stannix feels that this is just the beginning. He hopes to see McAdam return to its former glory, a community that residents can truly feel proud to live in. They are seeing a population boom, thanks to the sale of building lots for just $1 each, and new families are breathing life into the community. He said the last couple of years have been very positive for the Village, and that helped people to be more community-minded and want to vote for their community to win the Small Town Challenge.

“It’s been a great year in McAdam, with the dollar lots,” said Stannix. “We’ve sold 15 out of the 16 lots, with the last one going through the legal stuff right now. We had over 90 homes sold here in the last two and a half years. The population has grown from about 1,150 to over 1,250. It’s been a nice reflection of what’s been going on in the community. This award is icing on the cake.”

sarigreen@stcroixcourier.ca