Canada Day celebrations planned around region
Red and white birthday cake will be served up, along with diverse entertainment and fireworks, at July 1 Canada Day celebrations throughout Central Alberta.
The biggest bash will be at Bower Ponds in Red Deer, where 20,000 people are expected to gather from 11 a.m. on Friday to watch ethnic dancers, musicians and singers perform on the outdoor stage.
Among the entertainers are Scottish, Filipino and Indo Canadian dancers, singers Chura Montgomery and Dani Lynn Trentham, and Chinese and Salvadorian performers.
Also part of the onstage lineup that goes into the evening are the Steve Arsenault band, Rick Moore, Justin Blais, a French-Canadian singer from Edmonton, and the Tap 9 band. Rick Olson, manager of the Red Deer Cultural Heritage Society, said a group will also sing “Canadian heritage songs,” including those popularized by Gordon Lightfoot.
There will be food booths representing cuisine from countries including India, El Salvador, Germany and Denmark, as well as various family activities throughout the day — including face painting and an interactive storytime presentation from the Red Deer Public Library.
Olson has ordered a giant four-by-five-foot cake that he’d like to see iced in front of spectators. “That’s something that I think would have a special touch.” Celebrations will continue until midnight. Fireworks are expected to go off at about 11:15 p.m.
Since there’s no in-park vehicle parking allowed, people can walk, cycle or take buses to the site. Olson said buses will leave from the Memorial Centre parking lot every 15 minutes, from 10:45 a.m., costing $1 for adults and 50 cents for youths and seniors (children age 5 and under are free).
Absolutely no pets are allowed at Red Deer’s Canada Day party for the safety of people — as well as animals. “It’s too crowded,” said Olson, to subject pets to the milling throngs.
Other Canada Day events throughout the region include:
• A three-day blowout in Lacombe that starts on Friday with a free pancake breakfast on from 8 a.m. to noon at the English Estates Co-op. This will be followed by afternoon events at Michener Park that include a farmer’s market, show and shine, motorcycle stunt show, midway, petting zoo, and a free concert and street dance. Saturday and Sunday (July 2 and 3) attractions at Michener Park include a 200-Foot Shootout of mini drag racing, beer gardens, motorcycle stunts and a street dance.
• Rocky Mountain House kicks off festivities with a pancake breakfast at the Rocky Museum. Events then move to the National Historic Site, six km west of Rocky Mountain House on Hwy 11A. Admission is free to the Site on Canada Day, when additional family activities will be offered. The Confluence Heritage Society will also hold a fundraising barbecue from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Canada Day cake will be served.
• Sylvan Lake will have a 10 p.m. boat parade, followed by fireworks off the pier. (Discover Boating, a non-profit national boating awareness group, rated Sylvan Lake as one of 5 best places in the country to watch fireworks on the water - see DiscoverBoating.ca).
• Sundre’s festivities go from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Sundre museum, with dance and karate demonstrations, horseshoe tournaments, a roving cowgirl comedian, pet parade, petting zoo, dunk tank and bouncing castle, among the attractions. Fireworks are planned at dusk.
• Ponoka will have an 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. barbecue at the Hamilton IGA parking lot, with free Canada Day cake and ice cream. Kids activities will be offered, including a bouncing castle and slide. Fireworks will be held at dusk from Ponoka Stampede grounds.
• Stettler’s Canada Day entertainment starts at 8 p.m. with the band Domino playing in West Stettler Park. Besides birthday cake and snacks, there will be fireworks at dusk.
• Rimbey starts off with a 9 a.m. Family Fun Run in Pas-Ka-Poo Park to raise money for the Big Brothers and Big Sisters organization. A pancake breakfast will go from 8 to 11 a.m., followed by activities and face painting. Fireworks are planned at dusk.
• Olds will offer a 3 to 7 p.m. Canada Day celebration in Centennial Park, featuring carnival games, inflatable bouncers, refreshments and entertainment. The fireworks will go at around 11 p.m. and be visible from anywhere in town.
• Anyone who takes an Alberta Prairie Railway Excursion from Stettler to Big Valley on Canada Day will find the large Second World War-era steam engine will be met by members of the Stettler Royal Canadian Legion, as well as a piper. The Big Valley train station will be decorated with the art of school children, depicting the building of the railway in Canada, and face painting will be provided.