A kaleidoscope of colours brightened the nights skies on Sunday as the people of Red Deer celebrated their home and native land.
The Canada Day fireworks started just after 11:15 p.m. with booming that echoed off the picturesque river valley. Many people commented that the show was the best they have seen in Red Deer.
And the rain earlier in the evening didn’t damper any spirts, said Cpl. Kathy DeHeer of the Red Deer City RCMP.
But it wasn’t all about the flowering explosions that brought people out in full force to celebrate Canada’s 145th birthday at Bower Ponds on Sunday.
The Red Deer Cultural Heritage Society presented its 43rd annual celebration with Canada Day activities that started at 11 a.m. There was a wide-variety of cuisine from nine countries and multicultural entertainment all day.
“It is a wonderful day to be celebrating,” said senior Anna Belle McKinnon of Red Deer.
“I am very proud to be a Canadian and this gives us time to think about how lucky we are to live here,” she said.
Dressed in their traditional Red Serge, Sgt. Andrew Shepherd and Cst. Phil Caza stopped periodically to pose for pictures with passersby. They spoke with many people at Bower Ponds including families visiting from Czechoslovakia and Kenya.
“We are receiving good feedback from the public,” Caza said.
“It is a different than what we are used to everyday so it is nice to come down here,” Shepherd said, adding that it was a warm day to be dressed in the tunic that identifies Canada’s cavalry history.
Spirts were high in the afternoon as MP Earl Dreeshen, Red Deer North MLA Mary Anne Jablonski, City of Red Deer Mayor Morris Flewwelling and Lyle Keewatin-Richards addressed the sea of red and white near the main stage during opening ceremonies.
Jablonski acknowledged the citizenship ceremony she attended last Wednesday for 50 people who took the oath of citizenship and became new Canadians.
“So enjoy your first Canada Day,” she said to the newcomers. “Right on for our new Canadians,” she said, which prompted cheers from the crowd.
Mehrighl Yakubova and her four children also attended the festivities on Sunday. Yakubova, originally from Kyrgyzstan, became a Canadian citizen two years ago.
“It is a great holiday for us too,” she said. “I am proud to be a Canadian, we like living here.”
“This is a great day,” agreed Red Deer Cultural Heritage Society special events co-ordinator Sherry Scheunert.
“The crowds are pretty good as always.”
Meanwhile, DeHeer said Canada Day was “pretty average” for local RCMP.
“In talking with someone who was at the grounds last night there was a lot of liquor being poured out and tickets being issued,” she said.
Incidents were mostly alcohol-related or had to do with noise bylaw complaints due to parties.
Changes to Alberta’s drinking and driving penalties came into effect on July 1. A driver with a blood alcohol concentration over 0.08 will be charged under the Criminal Code but will also received an immediate licence suspension. The driver’s vehicle also be seized. DeHeer said there were no incidents in Red Deer where this happened.