Canada Day will be grand in Central Alberta

Scottish dancers, an African choir and food from around the world will be part of the Canada Day celebrations on July 1 at Bower Ponds in Red Deer this year. Entertainers start at 10 a.m. on the stage and continue to 11:15 p.m., with fireworks following.

Scottish dancers, an African choir and food from around the world will be part of the Canada Day celebrations on July 1 at Bower Ponds in Red Deer this year.

Entertainers start at 10 a.m. on the stage and continue to 11:15 p.m., with fireworks following.

A variety of dancers performing styles ranging from Tahitian to Irish will take to the stage throughout the day, along with many other musical performers. Opening ceremonies take place at 2 p.m.

During the evening, between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m., Kym Simon, Prairie Rose Trio, Porter and St. James Gate will all be showcased.

International food booths will feature Filipino, Norwegian, African, Chinese, German, Swedish, Ukrainian and Danish cuisine.

No pets or alcohol are allowed at the Bower Ponds site.

Access to the site will be by bus only, with people able to park and ride from the Memorial Centre or the new downtown bus terminal area. Cost of the bus ride is $1 for adults, 50-cents for students or seniors or free for youngsters five or younger.

No transit passes or coupons will be accepted for the ride.

Buses will run to the site every 15 minutes from 10:45 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. from the downtown terminal and from 10:45 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. from the Memorial Centre. Buses will remain at Bower Ponds until after the fireworks display, but will only take people back to their vehicles at the Memorial Centre.

Others may wish to take a different form of transportation to Bower Ponds, with the Kerry Wood Nature Centre kicking off its summer rafting season with the Canada Day Raft Tour from Fort Normandeau to Bower Ponds. Two boats will leave from the fort at noon, with 12 people and two interpreters. A weiner roast will take place at Great Chief Park afterwards. Cost of the raft trip is $35 and pre-registration is required by June 29 by phoning 403-346-2010.

Edna Warriner, volunteer chair of the Canada Day event, said they expect between 10,000 to 20,000 visitors to attend the Canada Day ceremonies.

Warriner said the co-operation among the groups at the event is phenomenal.

“I think that is what Canada Day is all about,” she said. “It’s a wonderful day to share.”

Admission into the event is free, but organizers ask that people bring a donation for the food bank.

Fred Scaife, the executive director of the Red Deer Food Bank Society, said the organization can accept food or money where people get onto the bus or at Bower Ponds. He said in particular the society could use pasta to feed the hungry.

Food bank volunteers will also be facepainting at Bower Ponds for minimum donation of $1. Scaife said they often paint a couple thousand Canadian flags on people’s faces during the Canada Day celebrations.

sobrien@bprda.wpengine.com