Low volunteer numbers threaten Canada Day parade
Canada Day parade organizers are desperately seeking help to preserve this year’s event.
The situation is so bad that unless people step up, the parade will likely be cancelled, said Aaron Braham of the Airdrie Pro Rodeo Association, the group that organizes the event each year.
“We are having so much trouble getting volunteers for the parade,” said Braham.
“If something doesn’t happen in the next week, it’s going to be too late.”
Organizers are looking for a group of four or five core directors to take on the task of planning the event, which has been an Airdrie tradition for decades.
Seventy to 80 volunteers are also needed to man barricades, take registrations and stage participants for between four and five hours on the day of the parade.
According to Braham, the Airdrie Pro Rodeo Association’s core focus is the rodeo and the organization has no trouble attracting volunteers to run that event, which will take place this year from June 27 to July 1.
However, parade volunteers are getting increasingly harder to come by, likely because of the abuse they suffer from angry residents on parade day, according to Braham.
“People don’t like to stand at the barricades and get yelled at and sworn at and treated like dirt because someone can’t get out of their neighbourhood the way they want to,” he said.
Braham added two years ago members of the Airdrie Pro Rodeo Association visited the Airdrie Chamber of Commerce with a plea for assistance.
“Out of between 300 and 400 businesses, no one stepped up to help,” he said. “The chamber and downtown core are the beneficiaries of this parade, yet they won’t step forward.”
Alderman Allan Hunter expressed disappointment about the possibility of cancelling the parade.
“The people in our community are going to be devastated,” he said. “It’s heartbreaking for the kids and the newer members of the community.”
Alderman Murray Buchanan agreed.
“It would be a very, very sad day if we don’t have a parade,” he said.
Alderman Ron Chapman was optimistic the parade could still go forward.
“I agree it’s the 11th hour,” he said. “I think we do have to come together as a community and do this.”
Hunter issued a challenge to residents of Airdrie and area.
“It’s time to cowboy up,” he said. “This should be easy.”
According to Braham, the most urgent need is for a director.
“I don’t have someone to organize this parade,” he said.
“That is my big concern right now.”
For more information or to volunteer for the parade, visit www.airdrieprorodeo.net or call Braham at 403-542-3254.