Events for Red Deer’s Homecoming / Canada Day weekend

After a whole lot of flood-related scrambling, new and revised plans are now set for Red Deer’s Centennial Homecoming Weekend and Canada Day.

After a whole lot of flood-related scrambling, new and revised plans are now set for Red Deer’s Centennial Homecoming Weekend and Canada Day.

Homecoming events will be happening on Saturday and Sunday all around Red Deer, as well as at Fort Normandeau.

Festivities kick off on Saturday with a pancake breakfast hosted by the Red Deer Royals and Parkland Mall. It will take place from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in the mall parking lot.

Everyone is welcome to walk a short way down the north hill for a noon dedication of the Centennial Grove. About 140 evergreens, flowering trees and red maples were planted on the boulevard between Red Deer’s main north and south arteries on June 1. The dedication will happen on the east sidewalk just down from Parkland Mall.

Remarkable Red Deer events will be going on around the city’s downtown from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Participants can pick up their passports at the pancake breakfast or from a tent in City Hall Park and start on a historic sort-of scavenger hunt.

The ‘hunt’ will take you for a free visit to the Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery, Alberta Sports Hall of Fame or Sunnybrook Farm Museum. Eight out of 10 ghost statues will also be represented by live actors, who will talk about Red Deer’s history and pose skill-testing questions. Tours will be given of historic St. Luke’s and New Life Fellowship churches, and walking tours of the city will begin at 2 and 3 p.m. from a tent at City Hall Park.

The goal is to visit at least one museum, one heritage site, eight Ghost statues and to take one walking tour. Those who get their passports stamped with these events get to enter a prize draw.

Saturday evening festivities will all take place on Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School grounds, starting with an interfaith celebration from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the football field. This will be followed by a barbecue from 6 to 7:30 p.m., a concert (8 to 9:30 p.m.) by local band St. James Gate, and an outdoor movie showing from about 10:30 p.m.

Since there’s limited parking at Lindsay Thurber, shuttle buses to the site will run from Red Deer College parking lot D and the east side of Parkland Mall. The buses will be available from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Sunday’s Homecoming events will unfold from 1:30 to 5 p.m. at Heritage Ranch. There will be interactive opportunities for finger puppetry, charting a family tree, lantern painting and more.

In addition to these celebrations, some special examples of centennial public art can be seen on both Saturday and Sunday.

Multi-coloured rain barrels will be arranged into a sculpture with sound and video affects at Fort Normandeau. (It will be there through both days, but will only get lit up after about 10 to 10:30 p.m.) There will be no parking on site after 7 p.m., but free shuttle buses will run from CrossRoads Church beginning at 8 p.m.

Also, anyone who looks up at Red Deer’s water tower after dark through July 1 will see moving lights and images projected onto it.

Because of continued flooding along some park trails that lead into Bower Ponds, Monday’s Canada Day celebrations are being moved to the Collicutt Centre. Festivities will take place from 11 a.m. to 10:45 p.m. in the field east.

This is the first time local July 1 festivities have been moved since the 2005 flood, said Delores Coghill, manager of the Red Deer Cultural Heritage Society, which organizes the celebration.

Despite the locale change, all the expected Canada Day ethnic dancing, singing, storytelling and other entertainment, as well as food booths, will be available at the Collicutt Centre site.

Since there’s only limited parking at the adjacent schools, free shuttle buses will run from the Memorial Centre parking lot.

The Canada Day fireworks celebration had to be moved to the less populated Westerner Park. Gates to the site will be open from 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., and the fireworks are expected to start at about 11:30 p.m. on Monday night.