The atmosphere at the Stettler Board of Trade was cheerful on Thursday evening, Jan. 12 as volunteers and board members involved with the Pheasant Festival gathered for its 2017 organizational meeting.
The meeting dealt with assigning people to roles in the festival, with leadership as well as subcommittee leads chosen.
Nine people were in attendance, though Board of Trade Executive Director Stacey Benjamin noted after the meeting that there was always room for more people.
Darcy Pollock returns to the role of chairperson, a role he has held since the inaugural festival three years ago. Mark Boice is vice-chair, and Benjamin and the Board of Trade acts as secretary, treasurer, and marketing manager.
Devin Haley is the barn manager and takes care of the barn and the birds within; Terry Baltimore is the land chairperson and will arrange for and organize the hunting lands; Brenda Morris is chairing the culinary event subcommittee while Brandi Page is organizing the banquet. Lorraine Hankins will be steering the beginners’ hunt, while Bob Cameron will manage the dog training.
Though numbers were down slightly last year, the festival isn’t looking at this time to try something new, instead sticking with the events it has already featured in the past.
“We’re looking forward to making it bigger,” Benjamin said. “We’d love to see more registrations.”
Benjamin said the decrease in numbers was expected considering the depressed economic situation, and the snowy weather didn’t help, either.
Despite the unexpected snow and the challenges that came with it, Benjamin praised her fellow pheasant festival volunteers for working around the clock to make sure the festival went off this past year with minimal hitches.
Recruitment of volunteers remains high on the board’s list, as the festival wouldn’t be able to run without the dozens upon dozens of people helping prepare and run the four-day hunt. Birds need to be picked up, housed, then released at rural locations all over the county multiple times a day during the event, which requires several people on its own. Add to that the various events run as part of the event and the number of volunteers required rises even more, it was noted.
“We’re still looking at a Thursday hunt, and hunting on Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” she said.