If I was in a another country and came upon a local festival that involved families, food, a parade, live music, costumes, games, wagon rides, cultural dances, and shopping, I’d think I’d won the jackpot. Sometimes we forget how special small town festivals are, but I’ve been enjoying taking in a few different ones.
The maple Creek Heritage Festival just had its tenth year. There is so much history and culture in this southwest Saskatchewan community and this festival celebrated the past while making new memories for the future.
Pancake breakfasts are a staple at community events and I loved that the tables were out on the barricaded street. I enjoyed my breakfast and the fresh air.
As I waited for the parade, I chatted with the blacksmith that had set up his outfit in the street. It was so neat to watch him create works of art right there.
Within the hour, the shady side of Jasper Street was lined with people of all ages. A long parade full of floats representing current and historic aspects of life in Maple Creek entertained the crowd.
A stage sat at the center point of the street and various local musicians played throughout the day. A long line of kids formed at the reverse bungee jump and hamster balls. The pedal tractors were never empty.
I ducked out of the sun to watch a screening of “Fast Horse,” a documentary about an Indian Horse Race team. There was also a presentation from a Fort Walsh character about prohibition and crime in the old days. I enjoyed a horse drawn wagon ride around a few blocks, especially seeing a young boy’s face light up when the men up front invited him to take the reins.
My favorite part of the day was watching the Nekaneet Dancers. I have seen the adults dance, but this time it was all kids, and they were beyond cute. I love that they were learning dances that will keep their culture alive.
Later in the day I ventured out to the rodeo grounds. First, there was a ranch rodeo. This mostly involved calf roping and branding competitions. After supper with a friend, I took in some of the bronco riding. I don’t remember the last time I attended a rodeo!
The Heritage Festival had a something for everyone. I sure enjoyed walking around and taking in the sights. I resisted shopping in all of the cool stores that Maple Creek has to offer, but did splurge on an iced coffee and cherry cheese cake ice cream.
Small town festivals are a cultural experience all on their own. Don’t miss out on being a part of history.
Here’s a video of some of the day’s fun. What is your favorite thig about small town festivals?