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Canada Day celebrations downsized

Innisfail and Penhold scale back due to COVID
Canada Day Innisfail
Innisfail's Verona Schafer had a recent patriotic socially distanced visit. Traditional Canada Day celebrations are being scaled back this year in Innisfail and throughout the region. Submitted photo

INNISFAIL-PENHOLD – Canada Day will be celebrated but modified in both Innisfail and Penhold.

Due to provincial COVID-19 crowd guidelines, the grand celebrations in both communities are cancelled for 2020.

There will be no big party at Innisfail’s Centennial Park or Penhold’s Lincoln Street Recreation Centre. The annual July 1 celebration at the Innisfail and District Historical Village, which features entertainment and the time-honoured pancake breakfast from the Rotary Club of Innisfail, is also cancelled.

“It feels strange. It is sad, a bit of a void,” said Anna Lenters, president of the Innisfail and District Historical Society. “Volunteers and staff are usually busy preparing for this year’s Canada Day but this year, we are not doing it.”

However, Canada Day will not be totally lost in either town.

Penhold will host a drive-in theatre show in the parking lot of the Penhold Regional Multiplex. Show time is 9 p.m. on July 1. The featured movie by Red Deer’s FreshAirCinema is Shrek. The cost is $25 per vehicle and tickets can be purchased through Interested citizens are being advised to purchase tickets in advance, as there are only 80 available.

“We are doing less than we usually do but still nothing huge,” said Penhold mayor Mike Yargeau. “We saved all our big fireworks for the Fall Festival (Sept. 11 and 12). The drive-in movie is a new thing for residents to come out and do. Hopefully it is a good turnout.”

In Innisfail, the fireworks will still light up the evening sky on June 30, confirmed Todd Becker, the town’s chief administrative officer.

Mayor Jim Romane said it was “very disappointing” the town’s grand celebration at Centennial Park had to cancelled this year but said the town will ensure next year’s big party is even more special.

“Once we get through this pandemic we will have a bigger and better one next year,” said Romane. “We will do what we can at minimum this year, with fireworks and stuff, but very unfortunate. We will live with it.”

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Johnnie Bachusky

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