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5 Things You Should Know About the 72nd Red Deer Highland Games

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4 minute read

By Jock Mackenzie

1. The Highland Games is the Highland Games. It involves competitions and displays of highland dancing (including the highland fling, the sword dance, the seann triubhas, strathspey and reel, pas de basque and highcuts, Flora MacDonald’s Fancy, Scottish lilt, Irish Jig, ½ Tulloch), piping and drumming (individuals and bands), and heavy events (including Hammer, Weight for Distance, Putting the Stone, Sheaf Toss, Weight Over Bar, Caber Toss).

2. The Highland Games is much more than the Highland Games. Some might suggest this event be called a “festival” but it’s been the Red Deer Highland Games for 71 years before this and tradition needs to be recognized. Extras include: The 78th Fraser Highlanders (living history demos all day with mock battles of musket and cannon firing), the Red Stags Battle Group (a LARP group – Live Action Role Playing) with real armor and high impact foam weapons), medieval spinning and weaving demonstrations, shortbread competition, sheep dog demonstrations, Scottish Country Dancers, the Entertainment Tent featuring the Celtic Jam Jars band, and vendor tents.

3. The 72nd Red Deer Highland Games is “kid friendly.” Clearly, there’s an absolutely full day for any adult (did I mention the Massed Band performance at the end of the day?). Especially for kids is a Children’s Play Area that runs all day long. At mid-day, the wee lads and lassies are invited to the Junior Heavy events: caber toss and putting the stone. Under close supervision of the adult athletes, the kids will be given cabers and stones made specifically for them.

4. The 72nd Red Deer Highland Games will be held on from 8:00 to 4:00 on Saturday, June 22 at the Westerner Grounds. Outdoor events will be held on the chuckwagon infield; indoor activities will be in the adjacent (and shiny and new) Ag Centre West. Admission includes parking: adult – $15, child/senior – $12, family (2/2 + program) – $45.

5. There isn’t a #5. Being truly Scottish, I’m thrifty. I’ll save more information for another day. Okay, one last thought: Have you ever tried a haggis burger?

Todayville Top 5 features the freelance writings of Jock Mackenzie.

Jock is an original Red Deerian!  Educated at Lindsay Thurber and Red Deer College (with a stint at the U of A), he became an educator himself, spending 31 years with the Red Deer Public school system.

It’s safe to say Jock knows Red Deer about as well as anyone (OK.. maybe not Michael Dawe).   As a confirmed life-long learner, Jock never tires of getting to know his surroundings even better.  That’s where the Todayville Top 5 comes in.  In each feature, Jock shares a few ingredients that go into the mix that makes this delicacy called Red Deer the place we want to call home.  As a well organized person who knows you’re busy, he’s choosing just 5 juicy tidbits to share each time.

If you’d like to be featured by Jock Mackenzie on the Todayville Top 5, just contact us at [email protected]

Todayville is a digital media and technology company. We profile unique stories and events in our community. Register and promote your community event for free.

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Alberta

Our sports history has value

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Simple confirmation that the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame has been operating without its standard financial aid from the provincial government prompted some interesting response during the last few days.

In a casual conversation, executive director Tracey Kinsella mentioned last week that COVID-19 made it necessary to cancel at least two annual fund-raisers – the Hall of Fame induction ceremony and its annual invitational golf tournament in Red Deer – and she was concerned about meeting routine expenses.

Consistently, the government’s contribution of $302,000 a year has been in the hands of Hall of Fame officials before the middle of the year. She expressed only mild frustration,, understanding that the coronavirus pandemic and other major financial issues have created major problems far from the world of sports. She did state that government staff members, working below the level of elected or appointed officials, have told her of their efforts to have the money forwarded as quickly as possible.

Perhaps this delay must be seen as part of a long and ongoing drop in Alberta’s financial support to amateur sports at all levels. In the 10-year period ending in 2019, the reduction reached $5.1 million – an average of $500,000 per year. We should hope not.

Some comparative figures seem to be well worth serious study:

* The economic impact of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer was $110 million; impact of the 2018 Alberta Winter Games was $3.4 million for the Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo area and $5.6  million for this host province;

* In 2018-19, Alberta Sport Connection, a sport delivery system disbanded months ago by the UPC, provided $7.2 million to be shared among 80 provincial sport organizations that delivered programming to more than 788,000 Albertans;

* Leduc hosted the 2016 Alberta Summer Games with an economic impact of $3.6 million for the area and $4.9 million for the province.

Still, government aid has dropped. Some citizens suggest minor and amateur sports should not receive government support during troubled times. Today it might be wise to ask Fort McMurray if that community will value the 2022 Arctic Winter Games? The record shows that numerous small- and mid-sized business stepped up during the 2018 Games, a difficult time for fire victims and petroleum companies that have served as a backstop to countless community and area projects.

After the severe floods earlier this year, it’s safe to guess that any international program that will improve community morale while adding some vital dollars to the public purse will be welcome. Incidentally, they’re headed to Wood Buffalo because COVID-19 forced cancellation of the scheduled 2020 event in Whitehorse. Fortunately, some of the dollars set aside and unused in the Northwest Territories have already arrived in Fort McMurray.

These days, surrounded by a crippled economy, I wonder if Alberta now wishes the 2026 Commonwealth Games were headed for Edmonton and 2026 Winter Olympics were coming to Calgary. Both possibilities were seriously discussed before being nixed.

During my five-year term as chair of Alberta Sport Connection, the organization received steady criticism for finishing third of fourth – usually in the rear of Quebec and Ontario – in provincial medal counts. I tried regularly to help almost any government official to focus on the cost of doing business.

It made no impact to point out that Alberta’s per-capita investment in sport programs is (or was) the second-lowest in Canada. Sorry, I can’t remember which province spent less, but I am sure that Saskatchewan receives $24.39 per capita and Newfoundland gets $8.36 per capita.

Alberta receives $3.85 per capita although 82 per cent of Albertans say in polls that they believe sport contributes to quality of life. And those I have spoken to say clearly that the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame has value.

John Short on Edmonton’s baseball debate

 

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Blackfalds

Blackfalds Town Council approves Arena and Library Expansion – Video and photo galleries included

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From the Town of Blackfalds

The Town of Blackfalds is moving forward with the Arena and Library Expansion

The Town of Blackfalds is excited to announce that the Arena and Library Expansion project will be proceeding and shovels will be in the ground in June of 2020 with a completion date targeted for Spring of 2021.

At their May 26 regular meeting, Council voted 4 to 3 to approve the final and guaranteed maximum price of the $24.6M capital budget which includes $18 M for the arena (which includes a $1 M contribution by the Junior A team) and $6.6 M for the Library.

Over the last year, the Town participated in various engagement opportunities including public open houses and meetings with stakeholders, school boards, and other organizations. The consultations prompted changes and additions to be incorporated into the design to improve the functionality of the facility which also resulted in increased costs.

Town of Blackfalds Mayor Richard Poole is proud of the work that Administration and its contractors ACI Architects, Eagle Builders and Delnor Construction undertook in the last 2 months to review those areas where costs could be reduced to come up with a target value design, “I support this project for a number of reasons,” asserts Mayor Poole. “First of all, this will be an excellent value for our community when it is built. It will be second to none and I believe it will be a project our community will be proud of, and, as Councillor Taylor stated, it will ‘enhance business opportunities within our community.’ The Abbey Centre continues to receive praise and compliments from community members throughout Alberta and I am confident Blackfalds will duplicate that success with this facility.”

Mayor Poole added, “I am also excited about the opportunities that the AJHL will bring to the community. The new Library is going to be one of the largest in central Alberta and, for a community under 20,000, this will be an attraction that we will not only be extremely proud of, but given the provisions of the facility, will allow for progressive programming even in a post-COVID era. In addition, by awarding the construction contract to Eagle Builders, we are providing jobs for many central Alberta families. I am thrilled to be working with such great partners like Eagle Builders, Delnor and ACI with whom we have had a great relationship in the past.”

The guaranteed maximum price ensures that the Town will not pay any more than the $24.6M and therefore, if the cost of the project does go up, the risk will be to Delnor and Eagle Builders, and not the municipality. CAO Thompson echoed some of Council’s words, “We want to provide a high quality facility to our community similar to our past successful projects, and not have to cut corners.”

A gallery of final design concepts can be viewed on the Multi-Plex Arena web page at blackfalds.com/tourism-recreation/multi-plex-ice-arena.

A small ground breaking ceremony will take place on Friday June 19 and will celebrated by invitation only to ensure physical and social distancing.

If any organizations are interested in sponsorship, please see the sponsorship brochure at http://blackfalds.com/tourism-recreation/multi-plex-ice-arena.

 

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june, 2020

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