It was a small agenda for the Town of Stettler’s councillors at its Tuesday, Oct. 20 meeting, with the most exciting news being the announcement that the new parade float, in its first season, had won several awards.
The new float, made of wood, plastic, and metal, is coated with an elements-resistant coating that will help it weather Alberta’s wind, hail and snow, though the town and the Stettler Board of Trade have made sure that it is well-covered when not in use.
The old float, which was retired this year, lasted for about a decade. According to Stacey Benjamin, executive director of the Board of Trade, it had simply become time consuming.
“It took us a lot of time to get it ready,” she explained, noting that the parade paper and fringe had to frequently be repaired or replaced. “The heart was very heavy…(and) in high winds, it could be dangerous.”
The heavy heart required at least two people to get it on the float, she said, but with the new float, it’s a simple matter of craning the lightweight train component in place and the float is good to go.
The float, which is a joint effort by the town and the board of trade, was completed in April 2015 and debuted this season, only missing one parade — in Erskine — due to a broken hitch.
The float brought smiles and “wows” everywhere it went, Benjamin said in a press release issued the day after the council meeting.
Of the 14 parades the float was featured this summer, it brought in the first place civic organization award at Westerner Days in Red Deer, best visiting community entry in Camrose, first place in Coronation, second place in Sylvan Lake and Alix and third place in Drumheller.
“We are looking forward at growing the list of parades the float will be attending in 2016,” Benjamin noted.
The float features the bright red heart to symbolize Stettler as the Heartland of Alberta, the steam train that played such a big role in founding the community, the P&H elevator and part of Main Street.
Council was particularly pleased with the float’s performance, with councillors happy to see the pride in which the residents take in the community reflected in the float, which was funded by the town but managed by the board of trade.
By the time the float rolled in its first parade earlier this year, it had cost $30,000 to build, from design to the final creation by Dave’s Woodworking.