Cronquist House manager Delores Coghill

A birthday party for the ages

It’s time to get your red and white on Red Deer.

It’s time to get your red and white on Red Deer.

The local organizers of Canada’s 149th birthday celebrations on Friday are almost ready to go. The only thing they need is co-operation from the weather and more volunteers.

Always popular and drawing thousands of people, the party at Bower Ponds includes a day-long experience that serves up delicious and entertaining samplings of Red Deer’s rich cultural diversity by way of food and entertainment.

While it’s just one day, the Red Deer Cultural Heritage Society spends the year preparing for Canada Day, manager Delores Coghill said Wednesday. Coghill was relieved that the first parking lot used by the city Transit buses was going to be ready on time — meaning passengers will be as close as ever to being dropped off and picked up.

It had been used for storing construction materials for work along the river banks since March.

As for the weather, the forecast as of Wednesday afternoon was showing a high of 21C, cloudy and only a 40 per cent chance of rain.

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There will be nine food booths this year, offering everything from French Canadian to Filipino to Ukrainian to Indian cuisine.

The day begins at 11 a.m. Entertainment starts at 11:30 a.m. and runs right through to just before the grand finale, the fireworks, which are at 11 p.m. The performances include belly dancers, rhythmic gymnastics, hip hop and square dancers, to name a few. The final performance will be by Trent Agecoutay, a local country singer and songwriter.

There will be only two ways to get to Bower Ponds on Friday — through the trail system or by bus. Red Deer Transit will as always provide park and ride service from Memorial Centre parking lot to Bower Ponds. There will be a bike corral for those who choose to cycle to the event.

For the littlest celebrants, there will be bouncy castles (next to the stage) with attendants. For those with furry friends, you are reminded that pets are not allowed at the event.

The park and ride service starts at 10:45 a.m. and runs every 15 minutes with the last bus leaving for the ponds at 10:15 p.m. Then the first bus will leave Bower Ponds and return to Memorial Centre at 11 a.m., also running every 15 minutes until the fireworks are completed.

Regular Transit passes are not valid for this service. Exact change will be required with the fare each way being $1 for adults, 50 cents for children ages six to 17 years and seniors, and free for children under five years.

As well, there will be a special city centre shuttle running between Sorensen Station downtown and Bower Ponds. The first shuttle will leave Sorensen Station at 10:45 a.m., then every 30 minutes with the last departure at 6:45 p.m. The first shuttle to leave Bower Ponds will be at 11 a.m. then every 30 minutes with the last departure at 6:30 p.m. Regular transit fares will be in effect for this service. Transit passes, day passes, tickets, coupons and transfers are valid.

Coghill said they could still use more volunteers. If you can volunteer contact her at 403-346-0055.

There’s more information about the celebrations on the society’s website at rdchs.com and also on their Facebook page Canada Day Celebrations 2016 Red Deer.

While this year’s Canada Day is not yet behind them, the Red Deer Cultural Heritage Society is already looking ahead to next year when the country celebrates its 150th birthday.

Coghill anticipates that celebration will be bigger than ever.

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