BOWDEN - With a near perfect sunny morning on July 16 the town underscored its excitement for its annual Bowden Daze weekend with its traditional parade.
And it went ahead and concluded without any controversy, unlike what happened at Sundre's rodeo parade on June 25 when a tractor float entrant attempted to make a political statement about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
"I don't think there was any attempt at all," said mayor Robb Stuart of the Bowden parade. He previously told the Albertan there would be a "little more overview" for Bowden parade entrants.
The Bowden Daze parade, which followed a town council-sponsored pancake breakfast at the Igloo from 8 to 10 a.m., began on time at 11 a.m. at Bowden Grandview School and looped around town until ending where it started.
The parade was the first one held since 2019; a temporary casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Yes, we missed two years,” said Stuart. “It's great to see everybody out there right now. We didn't have a bunch of high-end bands, but we had old cars and the Country Gold; the group that sings the music.”
Citizens began heading to the parade route shortly after 10 a.m. Many brought their morning coffees and lawn chairs. Children were bouncing with excitement for the candy that would surely come their way.
And then old-time music began to blare. There was a loud honk from a fire engine. The show was finally on.
The parade began heading south on 23rd street with a Mountie leading the way, followed by a Town of Bowden float that had the Country Gold band playing good ole time music.
Innisfail was well represented by a float from Johns Manville. The Town of Sylvan Lake came with a gorgeous eye-popping float.
Sundre was represented by councillors Jaime Marr and Owen Petersen. The towns of Penhold and Blackfalds were also in the parade, waving to the crowds from their own vehicles.
Larger municipalities from the region did not forget Bowden either.
The City of Red Deer was represented with mayor Ken Johnston, while Red Deer County had mayor Jim Wood proudly waving from the back of a blue pickup truck. In another vehicle, Coun. Connie Huelsman represented Red Deer County council.
Federal MP Earl Dreeshen also came. He was closely followed by local MLA Devin Dreeshen, who was enthusiastically throwing out candy to children and the press.
And there were plenty of businesses and sport organizations represented, as well as several entries with horses, notably one with Miss Strathmore Stampede in the saddle.
Following the parade at 1 p.m., FortisAlberta served up free barbecued smokies from outside the Igloo. The mayor was there and declared the first parade in three years a success – but with one reservation.
“I was at the front of it of course and it always really annoys me because I never catch the rest of the parade,” said Stuart. “I think we have one of the better ones for a small town. It was nice that Red Deer County and even the mayor of the City of Red Deer came.”