Tuesday, 04 July 2017 08:00

Empress offers a full slate of activities in July

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Empress has always been impressive place for tourism, as many cottage and art-related industries established themselves starting in the early 2000s.
It has overcome a lot of challenges with the loss of its school and health-care centre as well.

With that kind of history, it’s symbolic for the village of 135 (2016) — but states it serves a ranching and farming community of 1,500 —that it calls itself “a creative village of artisans, makers and prairie people.”
In fact, in social media advertising the village goes by the hashtag #EmpresshasArtisans with the twitter handle @villageofempress
Empress’ Chief Administrative Officer Debbie Ross says the July 1 event should be a lot of fun.
Residents, stakeholders and community supporters are proud of the new splash park. There will be a special ceremony with dignitaries and hopefully some contributor representatives.
Ross says it was actually finished last summer and was opened on a small, unofficial scale last year. She says that was to try it out to see how it worked and ensure any bugs were remedied.
“It was a project that council wanted,” explains Ross. “ In 2013 it got started but, it was a project that had been identified prior a few years to that.
“It’s been going well so far ... there’s tweaks we’ve done already.”
Ross says the Empress representatives were at an Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) convention and they met a company called Playquest, which was known for setting up splash parks in smaller centres and had done extensive work at different locales within Medicine Hat.
Ross says Empress’ latest addition for family fun has had the region come visit it with those from Leader, Burstall, Bindloss and other surrounding communities make the trek to the village.
“Specifically, it’s been young moms with under school-aged children coming here from all over,” explains Ross. “It’s what we wanted ... we try to get them to utilize the businesses that are here.”
Besides the July 1 celebration for the splash park they will hold a supper/celebration recognizing the new village shop at the facility. A dance will also be held there. Fireworks will be shot into the night sky by the Empress Volunteer Fire Department.
So with that, Empress Canada 150 Celebration Grand Opening of the Public Works Shop and Splashpark takes place on Canada Day starting at 2 p.m. There will be children’s games, beer gardens, and a supper and dance featuring the band Enslow. Fireworks cap off the evening.
Empress officials are hoping for a big turnout from the surrounding areas. They are doing their best to attract people from all over.
Ross says they have been getting that support from the rural areas.
They have to think “regionally and there will be a regional presence later in the month as the events continue.
On July 15, the Oyen Family Community Support Services and Empress/Bindloss Ag Society will host a full day with the Empress River Valley Motorcycle Poker Run and Car Show which is open to all makes and models. Spectators are welcome to see the car show with no admission charged.
Proceeds of that event are going to Oyen FCSS. Registration is at 10:30 a.m. at the Empress Arena parking lot and the poker ride will kick off at 11 a.m. It will be a 300-km round trip in southern Alberta.
There is fuel available in Empress and breakfast at the local restaurant (pay at your own cost) which is open at 9 a.m. The poker run costs $35 per person which includes supper (where winners are announced), a dance featuring Cappon County Crick Watchers and one poker hand. For just the supper the cost is $15.
Empress Daze Cash Summerspiel is being put on again by the Empress Bindloss Ag society at the Empress Arena from July 19- 22. The $200 entry fee for the fun spiel has a team draw on the Saturday night for $2,000.
Last team out of the hat wins. Camping with services is available behind the rink for a fee. For more information, phone Brad Howe at 306-661-0409 or to enter a team. Entries must be in by July 7.
On July 21, the Empress and District Historical Society is presenting The Classey Ferguson Band  consisting of Bryce Bader and Michelle Walbaum. They will play at the CPR Station Museum in Empress. Bar opens at 7:30 p.m. and the concert starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 with limited seating. For info. and tickets phone 403-565-0009.

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Ryan Dahlman

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