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Culture Days features wide variety of events

CARSTAIRS - Despite colder weather, the Town of Carstairs was still hopping on the weekend as the town celebrated Alberta Culture Days.

CARSTAIRS - Despite colder weather, the Town of Carstairs was still hopping on the weekend as the town celebrated Alberta Culture Days.

Events included hoop dancing at both schools on Friday, the 35th annual Pumpkin Fest at the curling rink, teepee raising at the heritage centre, and make and take crafts at the library, all on Saturday.

Anne Strilchuk, one of the organizers of Pumpkin Fest, said the event went well with more than 500 people in attendance.

"It was great," said Strilchuk. "The entries were down, though. The biggest pumpkin was 76.75 pounds. We were pleased. There were lots of activities for the children. It was a really nice day."

Strilchuk has been involved from the very beginning with Pumpkin Fest, which is now run by the Carstairs Agricultural Society.

This year, the ag society, along with the museum and library received a culture grant from the provincial government.

"We worked with the other two groups to coordinate," she said. "It's wonderful to work with them. The grant from the government is wonderful."

Strilchuk said there has been many changes over the years to the festival, which celebrates the fall harvest.

"We used to have a king and queen contest but we changed that," she said. "We used to have baking - pumpkin pie, pumpkin preserve, anything pumpkin. But the entries weren't there last year so that went away. It was just pumpkins this year. It was local and non-local and different categories."

Strilchuk said they had zucchini decorating and other similar crafts for the kids, which were well received.

"We also had several vendors -- they're a big part of it," she said. "We had a musician playing from Bowden, Murray Larsen. He was really good. We also had the Carstairs rodeo queen Emma Rose Danby and princess Brooke-Lynn Koran out helping. They were great just doing whatever needed to be done."

Pumpkin Fest winners:

  • Grand winner: 76.75 pounds -- Tony Richardson
  • Best business scarecrow -- Blooms by Bloy
  • Most likely to scare a crow -- Mountain View Credit Union
  • Most creative -- Crossfit

At the Carstairs Heritage Centre, visitors were able to watch as Metis elder Lynn Jonasson built a teepee. In addition, there were kids' crafts and fresh bannock.

"We had over 100 people here, so that was good," said museum manager Maggi Mah. "We had a steady flow of people through the day. The elder was here. He taught us how to build a teepee and helped us build it. The bannock turned out really good. We had lots of good feedback on that."

Mah said that the kids' crafts turned out really good as well.

"Everyone who came had good things to say about the event," she said.