SUNDRE — A plethora of family-friendly activities promises to provide a variety of options for people to locally celebrate Alberta Culture Days.
The three-day event, starting on the evening of Friday, Sept. 24 and wrapping up Sunday, Sept. 26, comes as a result of a collaborative effort among the Sundre & District Historical Society, the Sundre & District Chamber of Commerce as well as the Sundre Municipal Library.
“Each organization is playing a part and doing something to represent Sundre culture,” said Jaime Marr, Sundre & District Museum executive director, later adding funding from the Alberta Culture Days Grant also helped make it possible.
“We’re going to kick off Culture Days at the museum,” said Marr during a phone interview.
Starting at 7 p.m., well-known country music performer Tim Hus, who lives in the Sundre area with his wife and children, will be taking to a flat deck stage with his band for a live outdoor show, she said, encouraging people who plan to attend to bring chairs and dress appropriately.
The performer intends to compile an assortment of songs that represent Canada all the way from the east to west coast, she said.
“He’s going to take us through a story telling musical journey, which is thrilling to me. He’s really getting into the scope of celebrating culture,” she said.
“He’s doing Canadian culture — whatever that means to you, we’re going to get his version,” she said.
People don’t need to worry about a cost of admission or reserving spots and can just show up at their leisure, she said, adding donations are of course welcome.
“It is pay what you may,” she said.
Organizers are keeping a close eye on recommendations coming from Alberta Health Services amid the fourth wave that has in recent weeks seen case numbers and hospitalizations surge. While people are encouraged to physically distanced or wear masks if they so chose, there are no plans to enforce such guidelines and there will not be any masks available at the entrance nor will anyone’s vaccine status be verified, she said.
“We are expecting those that do arrive will be aware of the social distancing that we will encourage,” she said. “It’s an outdoor event, so just come at your own discretion.”
Saturday, Sunday itinerary
While the museum will be open with an outdoor crafts and local foods market, a pie auction with Ken Walker, as well as pioneer heritage demonstrations at the historical village, the chamber and library will also be offering additional activities for residents to check out.
Over at the Sundre Skatepark, located near the Aquaplex across the street from Sundre High School, the chamber is hosting an opportunity for local athletes to showcase their skills.
“They are going to take on the youth, sort of a pop culture component,” said Marr, adding the chamber also arranged to have a photographer capture action snapshots.
“Essentially, we are looking for your best tricks, and we’re going to have a photographer in town snapping photos of those tricks. We’re hoping to make a digital photo album,” Marr said, adding specific times would be announced soon but that the plan is to aim for about 1 to 4 p.m.
“We’re just encouraging anyone, any age, to show up at the skatepark.”
Additionally, the chamber coordinated with local eateries to encourage them to pick a specialty dish that shines a spotlight on their cultural heritage at a reduced price to entice people to try some unique recipes.
Meanwhile, she said the library will be hosting a fine arts component complete with a gallery and artists demonstrating techniques, combined with a musical element including performances by local Celtic band Hither and Yon as well as the Bergen Strings.
Other events planned at the museum include a presentation by Povl Munksgaard about taxidermy and how the art has changed over the years, as well as some Métis, Indigenous, and even Norwegian food demos coupled with story telling to offer insight on how Sundre was formed. Sundre and Area Ministerial will also have a presence to discuss how the local spiritual and religious community evolved as well as why there are so many churches and how they arrived, she said.
Many of Saturday’s events will return in a similar fashion on Sunday, she said, adding the latter tends to be a bit slower.
And the teepee that was erected on the village grounds on June 21 in recognition of National Indigenous Peoples Day by members of the Bearspaw family from the Stoney Nakoda Nation, will be removed by the family, who Marr is grateful to have been able to establish a connection with.
“It’s really exciting — we’re just forming relationships everywhere,” she said.
Marr also expressed appreciation to the Sundre and area community for supporting the museum, especially throughout the challenges imposed by the pandemic.
“The board has worked really hard to ensure the safety of guests and volunteers,” she said, adding board members and volunteers were thrilled to be able to reopen the museum this summer.