By Stephen Dafoe
Sturgeon County – With 12 hours of entertainment, patriotism and fun, organizers are hoping County residents will make Edmonton Garrison their stop to celebrate Canada Day. The Canada Day celebrations will see six bands playing throughout the day, a military car crush, 250-car show and shine, CF-18 flyover plus other aerial participants as well as appearances by the Edmonton Oilers and local and regional entertainers.
“It’s going to be the largest event that Sturgeon County’s ever hosted,” said Economic Development Manager Kyle Reiling. “It’s a free event, and it’s a free event for all families to go to. I think it’s a wonderful partnership between Sturgeon County and the CFB Edmonton Garrison. It’s a relationship both of us feel is very important.”
As the County’s largest rate payer with members living throughout the county, Reiling said Sturgeon County wanted to get behind the garrison in supporting the event.
“This isn’t the first year that this event has occurred on Canada Day at the Garrison,” Reiling said. “In the past they’ve kept it smaller, more for the internal families to come out. Last year the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce stepped in and made it a little bigger. This year, I think between Troy [Grant, Personnel Support Programs (PSP) Manager at CFB Edmonton] and myself – between the two partners; I think we’ve taken it to the next level.”
With the help of corporate sponsors Ron Hodgson, Landrex, Southgate Buick, Castrol and others, the Canada Day event will be packed with performances and events. Two separate stages and plenty of lawn chairs will create the venue for Spirit of the West, Beverly Mahood, Kory Wlos, Harry Wojak, Frankie McQueen, Ain’t No Rodeo as well as Aboriginal drummers and dancers, and Ukrainian dancers.
But there is more to the Canada Day event than song and dance. Reiling said Ron Hodgson will be bringing his military collection, the largest private collection in Canada, to the event. Additionally, F-18s will do a flyby as will astronaut Chris Hadfield in an F-86 Sabre.
“He’s flying Air Hawk 1, the only F-86 operating in all of North America, Reiling said. “He’s going to come over top and have five other vintage aircraft flying behind him. They’re going to swoop over Boonstock. He’s going to come back and address the crowd.”
But if military aircraft are not to everyone’s flavour, the base will host the County’s second instalment of the Sturgeon County Bounty, an event that gathers the region’s cooks, caterers and food producers at one event. “We have 25 participants at this bounty, so we’ll have over 60 food items,” Reiling said, adding the event runs from 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. “They’re going to be overwhelmed with the population that’s going to come at these people.”
With so much going on, Reiling said he anticipates a bigger crowd this year than in previous years. “Last year there was just over 10,000 people,” he said. “We’re planning on it being at least twice as large. We are expecting – realistically – anywhere between 20 and 30,000 people.”
But he’s quick to point out the County is not competing with other Canada Day celebrations in the area. “It seems there are Canada Day celebrations happening in every community, and I think that’s great and really important,” Reiling said. “Canada Day is such an important day. Of any day of the year, it is the day for the military. It is the one day they try to give off to their individual soldiers to enjoy the day with their families. For us to step up to the plate – we needed to do it and it’s been a wonderful decision.”
For more information about Canada Day at the Edmonton Garrison and other events in Sturgeon County on July 1, visit www.startinsturgeon.ca.