July 18, 2024 Taber

Super Saturday: Heritage Festival 2022 and Jasper Centre Carnival

Posted on July 12, 2022 by Maple Creek
Delvin Stanley is pictured performing a high-energy dance.

The sights and sounds of Nekaneet dancing brought colour and excitement to the heart of Maple Creek on Saturday.
As the music of a drum group filled the air, fancy dancer Kaiyanna Oakes-Taypotat captivated an audience while twirling and gliding around the 1st Avenue/Jasper Street junction.
She was followed by Raelynn Francis, 10, and nine-year-old Aiyanna Francis, their regalia sparkling in the sunshine as they performed a jingle dress dance.
Next came Delvin Stanley, pictured, whose high-energy dancing defied the sweltering July heat.
Who wasn’t mesmerized by the shimmer of his green-and-red regalia?
First Nation dancing was a highlight of the Heritage Festival, which brought people flocking to the town from the moment pancake breakfasts started being served from the Glascock Building at 8am.
Families came from all over the area, some saying that Instagram drew their attention to Maple Creek. One couple even came from Florida.
It was the Town’s 11th annual heritage festival, which had been put on hiatus by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coinciding with the festivities was the Jasper Cultural & Historical Centre’s Carnival, making for an extra-special Saturday.
The grounds were transformed into a magical wonderland of axe-throwing, balloon animals, sliding down a bouncy castle slide, psychic readings, face-painting, games like plinko, and bungee jumping.
There was also a giant flea market … and a giant by the name of Edouard Beaupre, who stood by the centre entrance, challenging visitors to measure themselves against his 8ft 2in frame. Alas, the appearance of the so-called Willow Bunch Giant was via a picture only, as he died aged 23 in 1904.
Another special visitor was Alf Van Dam, who arrived with his green “Cucumber Man” vehicle and handed out pickles to passers-by. In 2019, his vehicle attracted lots of attention at the classic car show.
As ever, one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the Heritage Festival was the parade. About 40 floats took part, headed by Conservation Officers Tyler Hansen and Jeff Pratt.
Next came a red car with Majors Ed and Charlotte Dean, who returned for the day from their new Salvation Army posting in Prince Albert. Others in the front section included the Town of Maple Creek, the Oldtimers Museum, and Omar Murray dressed as a North West Mounted Policeman on a Yamaha bike.
Among those trailing were the Nekaneet, Shriners, Cypress Credit Union, Richardson Pioneer, Cypress Hills Grasslands Destination Area, and the fire department, which brought up the rear. Two horse riders took part: Peter Sehn (on Cranky Lady) and Meaghan Drever (on Zak).
Afterwards, attention switched to a host of attractions like wagon rides, a petting zoo with goats, pedal tractors, face painting, a blacksmith, Jasper tavern beer gardens, spin class, fire truck displays, Farmer’s Market and Cowboy Poetry in Hawrylak Park.
A new event was a watermelon eating contest, with a $25 gift certificate prize at stake. It was run by Michelle McKenzie, the mayor, and saw no shortage of youthful contestants.
Many stores offered discounts throughout the day and reported brisk business. Long queues formed outside The Bake Shoppe for its grand opening barbeque, while plenty of people went to Papa Joe’s Smokehouse to get a “sausage on a bun”.
Another magnet was the Broken Spoke Fine Art Gallery, where Eastend artist and singer-songwriter Lesley Schatz gave a demonstration of her skills. When she wasn’t using a palette knife for an oil painting of a bison herd, she played her banjo.
Meanwhile music on the main stage was provided by Berk Jodoin and Band, followed by the Turquoise Turtle Band.
For Savannah Mass, communications and tourism manager, the festival was the culmination of months of planning.
She was delighted that the warm summer weather had brought so many people out.
Some fun-seekers had travelled a long way, from Ontario and Florida, attracted by what they had seen about the town on networking platforms like Instagram.

Mayor Michelle McKenzie supervises the watermelon eating contest.

Cornelius Beveridge and Eliza, 2, enjoy a pedal tractor ride.

Alf Van Dam and Donny White, Jasper board chair, next to Mr. Pickles’ funky Model T.

The colourful Nekaneet float in Saturday’s parade carried the messages “Every Child Matters” and “Missing and Murdered …Indigenous Women”. People on the float wore “Every Child Matters” shirts.

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