Endiang celebrates centennial

They came home to Endiang by the hundreds for the centennial celebration on the weekend. Even Premier Ed Stelmach attended, as did Crowfoot MP Kevin Sorenson, Drumheller-Stettler MLA and Minister of Agriculture Jack Hayden, County of Stettler Reeve Earl Marshall and County Councillor Les Stulberg, representing every level of government.

Sunny skies prevailed throughout the weekend. The large parade that kicked-off the activities on Saturday would rival centres much larger. The streets of Endiang were lined several people deep in places as the parade wound its way through the streets of the hamlet. The honorary parade marshal was Dr. Neil Webber, who grew up at Endiang and was a former minister and MLA in the Alberta government for 14 years and the founder of the prestigious Webber Academy in Calgary. It is estimated there were between 900 and 1000 people that attended the celebration.

Opening ceremonies, which were conducted from the impressive Calgary Stampede stage, lasted about one hour. The program featured speeches from the dignitaries, words of welcome, poems and letters depicting local history as well as entertainment by local dancers. Premier Stelmach and MLA Hayden presented the Endiang community with a beautiful bronze plaque from the Alberta government to commemorate the centennial. It was accepted by Ken Schultz, chairman of the Centennial Committee.

The students of the Byemoor School also made a presentation to the community, a framed mosaic, that all students had a part in making and that was accepted by Lois Ballinger, long-time Endiang resident.

The Swinging Sisters provided some afternoon entertainment but visiting, reminiscing and greeting old acquaintances dominated the afternoon. Following a scrumptious roast beef supper and more local entertainment, an outside dance was held, with the music supplied by Marty and Company. A dedication was made at the centennial pavilion at dusk. The pavilion is lit with “memory lights” which were dedicated to the memory of those pioneers and loved ones from the area who are no longer with us and at dark the lights came on in their memory.

Just after dark the centennial guests were treated to a spectacular set of fireworks and dancing continued to the wee small hours of the morning.

On Sunday morning folks enjoyed a wonderful breakfast and more beautiful weather. The open-air church service began at 11 a.m. and those participating all had local ties. The Rev. Dick Hunt gave the opening prayer and address. Marvin Engel also gave an address and he and his wife Karen sang several selections. Herb Gutsche read the scripture and led the congregational hymns. Organist was Laurie Somerville and MC Les Stulberg gave welcoming and closing comments.

Following the church service a huge 100th birthday cake was served along with refreshments and fruit trays. As with most rural functions, there definitely was no shortage of food.

A huge tent provided shade for the comfort of the guests. Throughout the weekend folks had the opportunity to purchase Endiang souvenirs and the centennial cookbook, which features over 700 recipes and bits of Endiang’s history trivia. There are still a few souvenirs and cookbooks available.

Judging by the wonderful compliments from those attending, the Endiang Centennial Celebration and homecoming was an absolute smashing success. This was due to the hard work of many volunteers who began preparing for the celebration two years ago and gave thousands of hours of their time. However, the celebration could not have happened without the help of our good neighbours from Byemoor. Our community may be small but it has a big heart and is extremely proud of its roots and unique history.

The weather offered some challenges in preparing for the centennial celebration when about seven inches of rain fell in the two weeks prior to the celebration, with one inch of that and some hail hitting on Thursday evening.

To say the weekend at Endiang was busy, is an understatement, for besides the centennial celebration there were several other functions going on as well. The Grams family held a family reunion at the farm of Jack and Vi Grams. Two members of the original family, Jack and his sister Frieda Meckler attended as did many other family members, including nieces and nephews from Alberta and B.C.

Jack Hayden and family celebrated the 100th anniversary of their farm, the Ralph Waters homestead, on Saturday afternoon. Many family members were present, including Jack’s mother Ethel (nee Waters) Hayden from Calgary and relatives from Ontario. Premier Ed Stelmach himself presented Jack with the Century Farm plaque from the Province of Alberta on top of Waters’ Hill. There will be more details on this next week.

Ervin Hausher was the guest of honour at an afternoon social and supper on the occasion of his 85th birthday on Sunday. It was hosted by Lloyd and Audrey Hausher at the site of the Tucker homestead, where they have a home away from home. Several friends and former neighbours attended. Happy bbirthday Ervin, we hope you enjoyed your day.

Sonny and Terry Gallant were to Calgary on Saturday for the wedding of Terry’s son Craig Stauffer and Robin Nadeau. Frank and Edith James also attended from this area. Our best wishes to the newlyweds.

Congratulations to Leanne Chick and Brad Andrekson who were married at Pincher Creek on Saturday. Leanne operated the Byemoor Store for many years. Best wishes to this couple as well for a happy marriage.

Birthday greetings go to: July 30 – Byron Wilkie, Rob Maginn and Gordon Groat, July 31 – Sandy (James) Fehr and Randy Schofer, Aug. 1 – Art Gutsche (his 80th) and Sandy Boehlke, Aug. 2 – Hazel (Walker) Duncan and Carl Leippi, Aug. 3 – Brandi Groundwater, Kyle Sorensen, Margaret Jones and Morgan Claypool, Aug. 5 – Robert Buchwitz and Carly Christie.