Small-town Bashaw scores big-time win

Bashaw residents were abuzz Wednesday as they learned the town won the Small Town Saturday Night contest

Bashaw residents were abuzz Wednesday as they learned the town won the Small Town Saturday Night contest to host a country music concert April 27.

The second annual competition is held in conjunction with the Big Valley Jamboree, the annual August music festival in Camrose.

After it finished fourth last year, Bashaw shot to the top of the leaderboard early in this year’s contest as it garnered more than 30 per cent of the 55,000 online votes cast in the provincial competition.

The community is now readying to stage a “mini-jamboree” concert at the Bashaw Arena.

“We are beyond excited to have received the most votes for the Small Town Saturday Night contest,” said Jackie Northey, a member of the Bashaw bid committee.

“I don’t think that the thrill of achievement could ever match the amazing community-building we experienced.”

Bashaw battled six other communities — New Sarepta, Foremost, Namao, Cold Lake, Bonnyville and Grimshaw.

Bashaw emerged as the early frontrunner and maintained its top standing when the champion was announced Wednesday, a day earlier than scheduled.

There’s even more in store for the winning community.

Bashaw also receives a $5,000 donation to the Bashaw Adult Learning Council for Bashaw School’s arts-infusion program and the Bashaw Creative Community Committee, courtesy of Travel Alberta.

Local organizers said they appreciate the opportunity to host a major concert.

“We look forward to welcoming many to our community on April 27,” Northey said.

Bashaw’s “mini-jamboree” concert is scheduled to feature country music artists Chad Brownlee, Alee, Clayton Bellamy, Bobby Wills and Tenille.

“Bashaw’s perseverance, creativity and competitive spirit have once again shone the spotlight on this wonderful Alberta community,” said producer Larry Werner of Panhandle Productions.

“Small Town Saturday Night celebrates the big stories Alberta’s rural communities have to share,” said Travel Alberta spokesman Royce Chwin.