Local talent focus of weekend festivities
Arts: Activities in abundance during Alberta Culture Days Sept. 29-30
Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017 06:00 am
Living in a town rich in culture, there were plenty of activities for organizers to choose from to celebrate Alberta Culture Days.
Musical performances, plays, scavenger hunts, author talks and an art tour are among the free activities planned for Sept. 29-30 in celebration of the town’s culture.
“Culture builds community,” said Allan Boss, Okotoks culture and heritage manager. “Activities like this get people out, they get them invested in the place that they live. You learn more about art.”
The festivities kick off with a display of Okotoks’ talent in the Best of Buskersfest concert at the Rotary Performing Arts Centre (RPAC) Sept. 29 at 7 p.m. The performers are the winners of last summer’s Buskersfest.
“We are bringing back the best of Buskersfest which is always a blast,” Boss said. “It’s one of my favourite shows of the year. More often than not we have a stage filled with the incredible youthful talent of Okotoks and people that don’t necessarily make their lives all about performing and they don’t do it professionally.”
Saturday’s fun begins with a pancake breakfast at the Okotoks Public Library from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
While the library has hosted activities on Alberta Culture Days in the past, assistant librarian Lara Grunow said this year’s celebration is the biggest yet after receiving a government grant for Alberta Culture Days.
“We knew we had the space and ability,” she said. “We have done things in the past to get people into the doors for Alberta Culture Days, but this year we will make it more of a place to showcase some of the talent we have in the community.”
The library is hosting a screening of the documentary Little Moccasins at 10:30 a.m., which honours the indigenous children buried at the site of the former St. Joseph’s (Dunbow) Industrial School northwest of Okotoks. Filmmaker Laurie Sommerville will answer questions following the filming.
At 1 p.m., the public is invited to a free writers workshop by Canmore author, naturalist and former Parks Canada employee Kevin Van Tighem who will talk about the writing process and how to incorporate nature into writing. Due to limited space, preregistration is required.
“He’s the author of several books that deal with nature,” Grunow said. “It’s not only showcasing somebody who is from Alberta but it’s also providing educational opportunities for our local writers and it’s free.”
Throughout the day the public can check out the library’s book sale and participate in a scavenger hunt for photos of Alberta cultural icons hidden in the stacks for a prize.
Grunow said the library serves as the epicenter for the weekend’s festivities.
“We have great access to downtown, to the museum, to the art gallery and all the businesses,” she said.
Down the street, the Okotoks Museum and Archives is hosting its own scavenger hunt throughout the day where participants go through the various exhibits searching through text and photographs.
“There will be some questions that engage them with the exhibitions,” said Jaime-Brett Sine, education program specialist. “There’s a lot of visual clues on the sheet for especially younger children to look at. It gets them to slow down and look at the details in the museum. The purpose is to make these exhibitions that are history-based really accessible and fun for kids.”
There will also be crafts in the attic.
At 2 p.m., Sine will lead the public on an hour-long art walk starting with the sculptures in front of the Okotoks Art Gallery and leading throughout downtown to view murals, statues and galleries.
A much-anticipated event is the dedication of the public art installation on Veterans Way from 10 a.m. to noon, commemorating more than 150 Second World War veterans.
Veterans Way will be closed from Elma to Mountain Street, during which time the Royal Canadian Legion Okotoks Branch will perform a colour march up the hill for a ceremony that will include speeches by local dignitaries. Chairs will be set up for the public at the top of the hill, said Boss.
“It’s really quite a formal dedication ceremony to this memorial,” he said. “Every day there’s a little bit more done and it will all come together over the next couple of weeks.”
Historian Kathy Coutts will give a tour of the memorial wall, telling stories about the honoured soldiers.
At noon, families are invited to head to the downtown plaza for the season’s final Picnic at the Piano featuring children’s performer Natasha Sayer.
Alberta Culture Days will close with the Playcreation showcase at the RPAC at 7 p.m. featuring up to six plays created in 48 hours using only a box of props participants were provided for free.
“This is a really fun event that begins on Thursday night where teams get a package of items that will serve as inspiration for them to go off and create a play,” he said. “They create these 15-minute plays and then they come back and perform them.”