Thousands of people stopped by Bower Ponds in Red Deer Wednesday, wearing Canadian flag pins, T-shirts and jester hats in red and white.
The local Canada Day celebration included food ranging from perogies and Ukrainian sausage to banana fritters and pork adobo. During the afternoon among those who took to the stage were belly dancers, a band playing French Canadian music and Mayor Morris Flewwelling, decked out in a kilt, welcoming attendees.
It was all to celebrate Canada’s 142nd birthday in style.
People spread out blankets and set up lawn chairs in front of the new stage at Bower Ponds, others enjoyed taking a ride in a paddle boat or canoe.
Chris Capicio was hard at work at one of the barbecues at the Phillipine-Canadian Association of Red Deer and District’s food tent. He was cooking up pork skewers for the long line-up of people.
Although he has been involved in the association for years, he said he still doesn’t know the secret recipe for the marinade that goes on to the skewers. He said every year they usually run out by 5 or 6 p.m., after going through 5,500 of them.
Besides the food, the multiple face painting booths were swamped with children.
Tamara Greer was there with her three girls Kendra and Kaylea, both eight, and Chloe, five. Kaylea and Chloe had Canada flags painted on their cheeks and Kendra had a Maple Leaf that spread out from the middle of her face.
Greer said they wanted to celebrate Canada’s birthday with everyone, enjoying the food and shows and the multiculturalism that Canada has to offer.
“We come every year. Our favorite part is watching the shows and enjoying the dancing and singing,” Greer said.
The event is organized by the Red Deer Cultural Heritage Society, which is made up of 15 ethnic associations around the City of Red Deer. This year the society honoured Elizabeth and David Plumtree, who headed up the Canada Day event for 25 years between 1980 and 2005.
The couple emigrated from England in 1973 and got involved in what was once the Folk Festival Society. Eventually Elizabeth managed the Cronquist House and oversaw the ever-growing Canada Day event, with David involved with doing the fireworks each year.
Elizabeth said it was so nice to see the people she had worked with in the past. David was pleased to have a chance to walk through and enjoy the festivities. “It’s great we don’t have to do anything,” he said.