As Canada turned 150 this year, Stettler and neighbouring communities made sure to engage in festivities throughout the day.
In Stettler, as part of “Rails and Tales,” there was a train early in the morning that served passengers a champagne breakfast on its journey to Big Valley. Alberta Prairie in conjunction with East Central Alberta Heritage Society had not spared any bells and whistles to give the community an extraordinary experience. From having two RCAF CF-18 Hornet flyby on Thursday, June 29 to getting a second engine running along the tracks, they had transformed the Village of Big Valley into one of revelry.
Within town, Stettler Crossfit held its second annual run, with CJ Oprea being the race director. There were 125 runners this year, 15 more than last, and several out-of-town participants.
“The community spirit created at the Fun Run gets better and better every year,” said Oprea. “We have so many runners cheering and giving high fives both along the course and at the finish line … community support is what CrossFit is all about and I definitely felt this flowed over to the fun run.”
Oprea said this year’s run was a little extra special to them at CrossFit Stettler.
“We as a country and community celebrated 150 years, and I am a very proud Canadian and always have been,” Oprea stated. “I love the opportunities Canada has given to me and my family, and because of those opportunities I have been given the chance to do what I do.”
According to Oprea, the Canada Day Fun Run has always been one of her favourite avenues to inspire and raise awareness about healthy living.
“I love watching every athlete cross the finish line and being the first to see the expression on everyone’s face,” Oprea added. “The ear-to-ear smiles are so amazing, from the three-year-olds to the 73, it is always the same.”
The winners were: Half Marathon Male – Ian Blokland 1:25:59; Female – Amber Jordan 1:45:19. 10-km Male – Luke Ball 39:37; Female – Dixie Massey 47:25. 5-km Male – Stefan Oprea 21:51; Female – Mikayla Blomquist 26:39. Kids 2-km Male – Jake Curtis 10:13; Female – Jaelyn Adolf 10:11. Kids 1-km Male – Rex Curtis 5:29; Female – Rory Tanner 6:03.
The Stettler Town and Country Museum had its own events planned with many residents partaking of the celebrations.
“We have had increased participation this year, with great volunteer and staff support,” said Karen Wahlund, museum manager. “Every year our new summer staff are asked for suggestions to add to the event, and they always step up and deliver. This year was no different.”
Wahlund said, for her Canada Day was a day to celebrate the nation’s freedom.
Later in the evening although there were thunder showers, and had turned some revelers away, the West Stettler Park had its entertainment going with local band Loose Change setting the tempo for the evening.
The Town of Stettler was on site giving cupcakes and tattoos, and of the 700 cupcakes made, 500 were consumed by people who had come to the park for the music and fireworks later that night.
One of the mainstays of Canada Day in Stettler, the food truck Uncle Tim’s Treats made brisk business.
It was a festive atmosphere at the West Stettler Park that weaved through the entire town that evening.
Communities of Big Valley, Donalda and Endiang
Stettler was joined by the communities of Big Valley, Donalda and Endiang in the Canada 150 celebrations.
While Big Valley had a lot of activities, both for kids and adults alike, Donalda too hosted a parade, supper and entertainment, besides all the regular events at the Art Gallery and the Red Lamp Market.
Endiang partied by hosting its 14th annual gymkhana, the Wade Buchwitz Memorial, bringing together the rodeo community from near and far.
When the fireworks went off, it not only marked the end of day-long festivities, but was also a reminder to reflect on our history more knowingly.