by Stephen Dafoe

An evening of East Coast music and East Coast food is on offer in the latest Champion Regional Series event taking place at Smith Plaza on 100 Street Jan. 28. The evening will start with cocktails at 6 p.m., an East Coast dinner catered by Green Bean’s Doug Adsit at 7 p.m., and a night of East Coast music starting at 8 p.m. Tickets to the licensed event are $40 per person.

Champion Petfoods is the sponsor of the event, having invested $10,000 in 2015 to put on a series of entertainment and cultural events that focus on fresh regional food ingredients, and local, and regional musical talent.

Show promoter Paul Smith said the evening would feature the talent of Brian Maxwell, a performer Smith said knows his way around East Coast music.

“He’s from the Maritimes, knows all the songs, and was taught it traditionally in his family,” Smith said. “He plays Maritimes music to the core.”

Maxwell is joined by Canadian fiddler Byron Myhre, Ed Bulger, and Smith himself.

Smith said he and Champion chose Dinner Time in the Maritimes to bring people home.

“Alberta has a lot of people who call the Maritimes home,” Smith said. “We chose East Coast music to make them feel at home in their new home.”

For Smith, the Regional Series is a great opportunity to get together with friends and community partners to provide a fun evening of great regional food and great regional entertainment.

It’s also an opportunity for Smith to show off his renovations at Smith Plaza, particularly how quickly the music school and store can be converted into a concert venue capable of accommodating more than 100 Morinville and area residents who want an inexpensive but quality evening out.

But the key is melding food and music into Champion’s concept behind the Regional Series.

“Champion’s idea behind the Regional Series was to have small intimate gatherings that are cool and culturally different than what you would typically find in a small town,” Smith explained.

“They have asked Smith Music, the Green Bean, and Pawn Marketing to put those together and push the envelope on what can be done with gatherings of 100 and under.”

The Champion funding was handed out in 2015 as part of a $30,000 community investment into a number of community-building initiatives.

To date, only one Regional Series event was put on – an evening that featured Alberta Beef and the music of the Beatles. Smith said the delay in putting on the next event was due to taking the time to come up with the right concepts.

“We wanted to take the time to put the series together and do it right, being responsible with the funds Champion had given,” Smith said. “We wanted the timing to be right for the event in the community.”

Tickets for Dinner Time in the Maritimes are $40 per person and available at Smith Music and The Green Bean Morinville.

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