Botha gears up for its centennial celebrations


Louise Bellair / Botha Booster

Ready for an exciting weekend? The Botha Centennial Weekend is upon us, with lots of exciting events to do, and a chance to reacquaint with old friends and neighbours. What an exciting time for all. So, hopefully, everyone can take in a great weekend, which is loaded with historical happenings.

To start off this Friday, there will be free camping available at the ball diamond, with a water and dumping location located at the hall. Registration will take place between 5 and 9 p.m. at the Botha Senior Centre. At 7:30 p.m., there will be an old-time dance, with Gaetz Valley Minstead Band entertaining for the evening. Make sure to join them at the Botha Hall and listen to the great music, have a dance or two and get reacquainted with people you might not have seen for a while. Sounds like a fun-filled night, and there also will be a lunch served that evening.

Saturday’s events kick off at 10:30 a.m., when everyone is invited to come out or take part in the best parade around the country. If you haven’t entered your entries yet, or would like more information, please get in touch with Bob Erickson at 403-742-4719. Hopefully the weather co-operates with us all weekend.

On Saturday afternoon, there will be a hotdog stand organized by the 4-H club, so please get out and purchase a hotdog or two and support our local 4-H members. Thanks to Atco Electric for sponsoring the booth. Hotdogs will be on sale between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

That same afternoon at the ball diamond, ball games are planned, so everyone is invited to participate. Games will run between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

That evening, there will be a “Movie at the Park.” This will take place at the Memorial Park, or if it is raining, it will be held at the arena.

Saturday between 5 and 7 p.m., slip over to the Botha Hall for a great meal, with a beef supper being served. That same evening, local entertainment will perform to cap what should be a great day.

The memorable weekend wraps up Sunday, beginning with a pancake breakfast at the Botha Hall between 8 and 10 a.m. After the breakfast, there will be a 10:30 a.m. church service at Botha United Church. Rev. Susan Bowyer will be officiating, so it sounds like a great ending to a fantastic weekend.

One big event for the whole weekend is the display of a replicate of the Underwood’s flying machine. Thanks to Bob Erickson and crew for all the hard work and time they put into making a replicate of this flying machine for everyone to see. The Underwood’s flying machine was known to be “Canada’s First Flying Machine.” It’s a must-see.

Elmer Underwood and his two brothers, George and Johny, invented the first plane and runway in the early 1900s. Even today, their ideas are used on aircrafts and runways. The Underwoods made these innovations about three miles east of Botha on their homestead. After lots of testing and experiments, their plane was ready for the Stettler Fair in June 1907. They transported their aircraft to the fair by using a stoneboat, which was pulled by horse and wagon, and back to the homestead.

With their aircraft at the fair, word spread and it drew much attention and was described in the Toronto Globe and a Manitoba newspaper. In Alberta, it was known as the Stettler Aeorplane, and also in Edmonton it was known as the Alberta Airship. It proved to be quite an attraction and received most-favourable comments.

Similarly, the aircraft replicate is very interesting project to see. This weekend, it will be located beside the arena.

A part of the original plane can be seen at the Stettler Museum.

While the other Underwood boys moved on with their lives, Elmer stayed on the homestead with his wife Rose and together they raised a family, which attended the first Botha school. Elmer and his family were very active members of this community until Elmer’s passing in the spring of 1942. Elmer and Rose are both buried at the Botha Cemetery.


A wedding anniversary wish goes out from Botha area to Matt and Donna Morris, who will be celebrating Aug. 15.

Calling all Bingo players to come out Tuesday, Aug. 16, for a great game, beginning at 7:17 p.m. at the senior centre. Bingo is held every second Tuesday evening.

Regular church services continue each Thursday at 7 p.m., with Rev. Susan Bowyer officiating. People are invited to join the worship.

Ball anyone? Phone Ken or Wendy at 403-742- 8184 to reserve the diamond for your next tournament or just a friendly game of ball.

To reserve the hall, contact Marsha Mailer at 403-742-2559 for special events. Prices are very reasonable.

Don’t forget about coffee hour, every Wednesday at 10 a.m. Everyone is welcome to come out for a cup, and a relaxing great time.

A happy belated 91st birthday wish goes out to Frank Storek from the Botha Community. Frank’s birthday was Aug. 7. Hopefully you had a great birthday, Frank.