Thursday, 31 January 2013 08:19

Big plans for 75th anniversary of Frontier Days in Swift Current

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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The 75th anniversary of Frontier Days in Swift Current this summer will continue a tradition that started in 1938 when more than 20,000 people descended on the city for what has since then been the southwest’s largest exhibition and rodeo.


In 2012, Frontier Days was attended by 25,169 people. The Swift Current Agricultural and Exhibition Association (Ag & Ex) is looking forward to welcoming even more people to the city for this year’s event, which will take place June 27-30.
“We’re getting ready for some big celebrations,” Event Development Co-ordinator Lenora Bells said. “We welcome everyone to come out. Try and get your western wear out and your cowboy boots and saddle up and join us for this wonderful celebration.”
This year’s parade theme will be “Pages in history” to celebrate the area’s western culture.
According to Bells, their intention is to incorporate activities from previous Frontier Days in the 75th anniversary celebrations. For example residents wearing western outfits and store front displays.
“What we’ve done is we looked back into the past and we’ve gone through scrap books from the fifties and sixties,” she said. “So some of the things that happened back in the parades and that sort of thing ... we’re hoping to bring that into Frontier Days this year.”
Various bands and dignitaries will be invited to participate in the parade. The Western Development Museum’s steam calliope, which produces music by sending steam through whistles, will also be part of the parade. It is one of only two operating examples in Canada.
Other anniversary events around Kinetic Exhibition Park and the city will include an old-fashioned flapjack breakfast, CCA rodeo, trade show and entertainment stage. The Ag & Ex will make an announcement within the next few weeks about the line-up of well known entertainers.
Bells felt the longevity and success of Frontier Days is a result of the ongoing involvement of the community.
“I think it’s the number of clubs and community organizations that got together and decided that they wanted to do something to develop the community and bring the community together,” she said. “It’s something positive that they could celebrate together ... and so that’s what happened. Frontier Days just kept on going.”
This year’s activities at Kinetic Exhibition Park will build on the many highlights from 2012. The Ag & Ex introduced a new program, the Discover the Farm along with the Poultry and Exotic Animal Sale. The event attracted 1,620 people, which allowed school children to learn more about agriculture in conjunction with a market style sale of poultry and exotic animals.
“This year we’re expanding it to include farm safety and then of course the next day will be the sale of the animals,” Bells said. “It was very successful last year and we’re expecting it to be so again this year.”
Last year’s Step into Spring trade show also proved popular with attendance by 3,413 people. This year’s show is scheduled from March 8-10.
Doc’s Town continues to be a popular attraction during the summer months, with more than 6,000 visitors in 2012. The 450 volunteers hosted different events every weekend. Renovations to the kitchen area of the Doc’s Town Tea House was completed. Sales at the tea house are the main fundraising activity for Doc’s Town and all proceeds are used for operational expenses and repairs to heritage buildings.
The Ag & Ex will host the Saskatchewan Association of Agricultural Societies and Exhibitions (SAASE) conference March 1-2, which will bring 125 delegates to the city.
“We host them over the weekend, so they’ll find out a lot about our community throughout the weekend,” Bells said.
In addition to the 75th anniversary Frontier Days celebrations, the Ag & Ex is already looking ahead to its involvement during the City’s centennial celebrations in 2014.
“We had a board meeting just the other night and we were talking about an event that we’re going to be holding in January that’s going to sponsor things that happen in winter, like sled dog races,” Bells said.
The intention is also to co-ordinate and connect with other centennial activities in the city throughout 2014.
In the meantime the Ag & Ex is looking for volunteers during the 75th anniversary Frontier Days celebrations. To volunteer or for more information, contact 306-773-2944 or e-mail kineticpark@ swiftcurrent.ca.

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