Canada Day expected to be boisterous in Central Alberta

Fireworks will light up the skies over Red Deer and Sylvan Lake in celebration of Canada’s 143rd birthday on July 1.

Fireworks will light up the skies over Red Deer and Sylvan Lake in celebration of Canada’s 143rd birthday on July 1.

Red Deer’s festivities start off at Bower Ponds at 10 a.m. and continue to when the fireworks are expected to go off at 11:15 p.m.

Evening entertainment on the new Bower Ponds stage will feature the Boom Chicka Boys starting at 6 p.m., followed by Freedom in Pieces, the harmonic group Haymakers, the Tap 9 musicians, and the popular local Celtic-flavoured band St. James’ Gate, which will play from 10 p.m.

A kalaidescope of multicultural entertainers will take the stage earlier in the afternoon, including Scottish, Philippine, Indo-Canadian, Ukrainian, and Chinese dancers, a German accordion player, an African choir, the Red Deer Legion Pipe Band, and a musical theatre group from Ecole Camille J. LeRouge School.

There will be birthday cake and children’s activities at the Canada Day event. Volunteer co-ordinator Edna Warriner said everything’s free, except for the food sold by 11 multicultural vendors.

But she warns that no dogs will be allowed at Bower Ponds during the Canada Day celebration for reasons of safety and hygiene.

Not only will food be prepared and consumed at the event, but an estimated 25,000 people are expected to descend on the site, creating a lot of noise and confusion, which will be alarming for many pets, said Warriner.

City bylaw officers will be enforcing the no-dog rule.

Once again, there won’t be any public parking allowed on the site on July 1. But Warriner said buses will run every 10 minutes to transport people to Bower Ponds from the Memorial Centre. The fee is $1 for adults and 50 cents for older children and exact change is appreciated.

Sylvan Lake is moving its fireworks back to Canada Day for the first time since 2006, when the display was moved to the town’s 1913 Days instead to reduce the potential for rowdiness.

Fireworks are expected to go off from the pier at 11 p.m. on July 1.

The town’s celebrations will also feature a Parade of Canadians starting from 1 p.m. from Memorial Park. Participants dressed in red and white will raise the flag and then wind their way down to the waterfront for some free birthday cake.

Sylvan Lake’s communications officer Erin Peden believes there will be an evening boat parade but doesn’t yet have the details.

She can’t predict the size of the crowd. “We’ve had as many as 30,000 people on the beach on Canada Day, but it’s completely weather dependent.”

Canada Day is being celebrated in Stettler with the Rocky Mountain Rail Society showing off its red-and-white decorated steam locomotive 6060, called “The Spirit of Alberta.” There will be a display booth and rides offered on a railway speeder (small maintenance vehicle) on the tracks going towards Big Valley.

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