PHOTOS — Homecoming festivities a big hit

Red Deer’s Centennial Homecoming Weekend was pulled off with only a few minor glitches.

Red Deer’s Centennial Homecoming Weekend was pulled off with only a few minor glitches.

While a thunder and lightning storm stopped Saturday’s outdoor movie, Leslee Burton, Red Deer 2013 Centennial events chairperson, said the weekend went relatively smoothly.

Earlier in the week, the committee was scrambling to find alternate locations for the weekend’s activities because of the flooding damage at Great Chief Park and Bower Ponds.

The highly anticipated River of Light production had to be revamped to make a statement on land. The original vision included a finale of illuminated rain barrels floating on the Red Deer River from Fort Normandeau to Three Mile Bend. The U.K. based Creatmosphere team worked their magic and created a new show on Fort Normandeau grounds.

Burton said more than 3,000 people went out to Fort Normandeau on Sunday night. Burton said the good team of volunteers allowed them to bring things together.

“We are pretty pleased,” said Burton. “It turned out to be a good weekend. Some people might be feeling they missed out.”

Red Deer couple Rob and Melva Mabbott were impressed with the amount of work put into the festival weekend. The Mabbotts enjoyed the pancake breakfast, the barbecue and the light installation at Fort Normandeau.

Rob said the team did a good job at relocating the events to various parts of the city. Melva said it was disappointing the barrels down the river but she was impressed with the production on land. The couple said they didn’t mind taking the packed shuttle buses from Crossroads Church.

“It was very nice,” said Melva. “It was a beautiful setting. The lights in the barrels were very nice.”

Other events including the pancake breakfast, the centennial grove dedication and evening extravaganza were also well attended.

Barb and Rob Chernoff needed no convincing taking son, Max, 11, along to the daytime festivities on Saturday. The family participated in the Remarkable Red Deer passport event where participants went on a history-inspired scavenger hunt downtown. They visited museums, heritage sites and met a few ghosts.

“There’s a lot of cool stuff,” said Max, a Grade 6 student at Central Middle School.

Local actors dressed up to mimic Red Deer’s bronze Ghost statues including Hazel Braithwaite, Rev. Leonard Gaetz, Francis Wright Galbraith and Doris and Mickey. The “live” ghosts were a hit with both young and old.

Maeghen Lee, 9, enjoyed the pancake breakfast at Parkland Mall and the barbecue at Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School with her family. Lee said she loved the “ghosts” especially Doris and Mickey in Coronation Park.

The next big centennial event is the Outdoor Barn Dance on Little Gaetz Avenue on July 16. Find out more at