By Étienne Thevou
Sturgeon County – There is nothing like a weekend drive in the country to put the hectic work week behind us, but this weekend may just be the best weekend to do so this summer. July 17 and 18 marks the kickoff to the Edmonton Regional Tourism Group’s 8th Annual Country Soul Stroll, an opportunity to stroll through some of the regions farms, gardens and museums, as well as an excellent opportunity to visit some of the region’s artists and artisans.
The annual tourism event that seeks to get the entire family in touch with their country side runs for the next six weeks and includes attractions in the Counties of Lamont, Leduc, Parkland, Strathcona and Sturgeon. Sturgeon County offers a variety of activities this weekend as part of the northern leg of the kickoff event.
The Namao United Church will be hosting a Stroll Pancake Breakfast at the Namao Community Hall on Saturday and Sunday morning from 8 a.m. – 11 a.m., a feast that will include pancakes, sausage, eggs, hash browns, fresh fruit, fruit sauces, syrup (diabetic syrup as well), juice, tea and coffee. After the breakfast, visitors can tour the Namao United Church from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.
For those with a love of the railroad, the Alberta Pioneer Railway Association will be opening their museum this weekend from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., offering visitors an opportunity to see just how big a train really is.
But if you prefer reindeer power to steam or diesel power, you’ll want to head over to First Choice Tree Nursery for their 4th Annual Christmas Sneak Peek. In addition to catching a glimpse at the new trends for Christmas 2010, parents and their children can have lunch with Santa Claus and visit with two of his reindeer. Reservations are required for the Santa Claus picnic, which runs from 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
And if Santa’s reindeer don’t quite give you your fill of four-legged critters, Prairie Gardens & Adventure Farm has plenty of little animals in their Petting Farm for people to enjoy. The popular summertime spot is also home to the Strawberry Café, offering barbecue lunch, strawberry shortcake and ice cream, as well as offering people a chance to pick their own produce in their U-Pick Strawberries, Peas and U-Dig baby potatoes areas.
While in Bon Accord, you can drop by R & R Delights, a stained glass studio in a garden setting. During the weekend, owners Rick and Randy will gives talks and demonstrations on creating stained glass pieces. The studio is located at 5315-50 Ave.
And just down the road from Bon Accord is Gibbons, home to Toula’s House of Clay. Toula will be holding an open house this Saturday and Sunday, featuring her own work as well as watercolours by Rosa Pinzauti.
But Toula’s house isn’t the only one open this weekend. Vintage Petals Tea House in Morinville will be bringing the past to life throughout the day Saturday, with dramatic presentations occurring on the hour. Additionally, the teahouse will be presenting a recipe collection using green tea as a product. This will include a mini-talk about the health benefits of white and green tea, including how to use green tea as a facial product.
For a complete listing of this weekend’s and this summer’s Soul Stroll venues and events visit www.edmontonscountryside.com.