By Andy Labdon Kelvington started the party when its Canada 150 celebrations kicked off on June 24 with a full day and array of activities.
After the pancake breakfast, Main Street opened with the kids’ zone, face painters and a balloon artist, alongside ‘Kelvington Kuisine,’ a collection of vendors who offered a mixed variety of foods from Filipino cuisine to fish and chips, smokies, burgers and corn. Even through the intermittent rain showers, spirits were not dampened.
On the stroke of noon, a parade formed at the bottom of Main Street then proceeded to the stage area for the official kick-off where dignitaries addressed the hundreds of residents who turned out for the day’s celebrations.
Mayor Tracey Sauer thanked residents, the neighbouring rural municipalities, First Nations and communities, as well the elected officials who have made the town what it is today.
“Kelvington is a community that can come together and be thankful for the freedoms and peace that allow a community to thrive and be supportive and strive for success,” said Mayor Sauer. “To get here today has taken strength and leadership; there is no greater leadership than those who fought to protect and defend our rights,” she said, acknowledging the sacrifice that Kelvington war veterans gave in the past.
The kick-off ended with cake cutting and a performance by the First Nations Rock Hill performers.
During the afternoon, residents and visitors had a choice of activities to participate in from the Amazing Race to the second annual Rhubarb Festival held at the Heritage Museum. On offer were delicious variants of rhubarb pies and desserts and on display the talents of local and regional artists. On the southern tip of town, the stockyards drew a crowd as the 4-H Beef Club’s annual show and sale presented pampered heifers and steers, all vying to win coveted trophies.
Perhaps though, the one festivity that brought out the best rivalry was the reintroduction of the tug-of-war that pitched residents from the south against those from the north, which according to some locals, has a pretty spicy history. However, in the name of all fun and games, Mayor Sauer introduced her “Ode to a Tug-of-War” (see boxed feature) read at the onset of the games.
“History such as the North-South tug-o-war shows the fun that our community has and is. The good-hearted joy that a community can have and laugh and talk about for years afterward, is what makes us unique,” said Sauer.
Celebrations came to a close with a street dance and 45-minute firework display, which rounded off a successful celebration of all that is Canadian and brings a community together.