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Beiseker celebrates centennial in 2021

The Village of Beiseker will reach a significant milestone this year, as the rural community celebrates its centennial in June.

The Village of Beiseker will reach a significant milestone this year, as the rural community celebrates its centennial.

Prior the COVID-19 pandemic, a large-scale celebration was being planned for the community, to be held June 11 to 13 this year. In anticipation of the festivities, Village council created the Beiseker Centennial Committee, whose members were tasked with preparing the 100-year birthday bash.

Unfortunately, the pandemic means those celebrations will have to wait until June 2022, according to former Beiseker resident Shelley Schneider, who is the committee’s co-chair.

“There are so many things we had to put on the back burner this last year, because of COVID,” she said. “A lot of our plans are in flux as far as what we’ll end up doing next year.”

Schneider said plans for the centennial party included a live outdoor concert, parade, fashion show, barbecue and the 4H club’s cattle show and sale, among other activities. The festivities would have coincided and partnered with the Beiseker Lions Club’s annual agricultural fair, which is also held each June.

“Those are sort of the high points we hoped to move forward with and we’re hoping to continue with those plans, but everything is sort of in flux at the moment for obvious COVID reasons,” Schneider said.

In addition to the June event, the community of Beiseker has been preparing to acknowledge the centennial in other ways, as well. The municipality's Legacy Project included building a new miniature park adjacent to the Village’s office in 2020, complete with a replica of a grain elevator and CP Railway car.

The local agricultural society is also getting in on the action. According to Kelly Hagel, one of the directors of the Beiseker and District Agricultural Society, the club originally intended to hold a New Year’s Eve hockey game and raffle to celebrate kicking off Beiseker's 100th year. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the hockey game had to be cancelled, while the raffle has been delayed until March.

“They had centennial jerseys ordered that were sponsored by Richter Farms in Beiseker for both teams and it was going to be a big game in celebration [of the milestone], followed by a dinner, dance and raffle,” Hagel said.

Pending the status of pandemic-related restrictions in the province, Hagel said the raffle is now set for March 13 at the Beiseker Community Hall.

“We’re going to try to think of a COVID-friendly event around it, whether it’s a broom ball game in the parking lot or whatever we have to do,” she said.

The first prize in the raffle is a 2020 Kawasaki MULE side-by-side vehicle, according to Hagel, valued at nearly $12,000. The second prize is $3,000 in cash, while the third prize is an 18-hole round of golf for four players and use of a powered cart at the Acme Golf Course. The fourth prize is a wheelbarrow of liquor valued at $300.

Tickets are $20 each and can be purchased at the Village office or Mountain View Financial. Only 1,500 tickets are available.

“The intention of the raffle, put on by the ag society, was to raise money for the ag society, but we also wanted to give a generous donation to the centennial committee for putting on this centennial birthday,” Hagel said.

While Beiseker was settled in the early 1900s, the Village wasn't officially incorporated until 1921.

Over the last century, Beiseker has retained its rural routes, according to Schneider, who is a direct descendant of some of the village’s first settlers. With healthy grain and cereal crops in the area, she said some local farming families have lived and stayed in and near Beiseker since before the area was incorporated.

“Historically, it’s always been a farming and agricultural community,” she said. “That’s been a mainstay. I know our rural families are often the ones…because of their long, deep roots in the community, who have a very vested interest in seeing the community succeed."

She highlighted the Berreth, Reding, Metzger, Hagel, Schmaltz and Richter families as examples of longstanding families in the community.

“If you look through Village councils, school councils, trustees, mayors and all those [organizations], you’ll see those names," she said. "They’re people who have always had a very active interest in keeping the community sustainable and thriving.”

While the village has maintained its rural feel over the last century, Schneider said Beiseker has also seen an influx of residents moving and settling there from larger communities, such as Calgary and Airdrie. Nowadays, the village is somewhat of a bedroom community, according to Schneider.

“You do have people who leave everyday to go elsewhere, and that’s just progress of a different nature,” she said. “It was bound to happen. Housing prices are considerably less and the school [in Beiseker] is really small. A lot of people like to have a small rural school for their children to grow up in.

“There are lots of benefits to living in a small town – you certainly get to know your neighbours and everyone looks after each other.”

Scott Strasser,
Follow me on Twitter @scottstrasser19

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