Red Deer’s year of centennial celebrations is nearing an end, but there is another major way coming up to mark the community’s 100th anniversary of gaining City status.
A Fire & Ice Community Ice Sculpture Display runs at City Hall Park on Dec. 13 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. It promises to be a terrific finale to wrap up a year’s worth of special celebrations, organizers say.
“It’s a combination of celebratory-type elements – nothing is ordinary,” explains Sheila Bannerman, chair of the Centennial Steering Committee. “What we are hoping people will take home at the end of the two hours is a feeling of exhilaration. That they’ve had a really great evening, and it has represented a really great year.”
As part of the evening’s events, folks are invited to create their own ice sculptures and bring them down to the park for display.
“They don’t have to be fancy – anything that they feel creatively inclined to do,” she said. “We decided it would be really fun to add a participatory element to it.
“It’s hard to be participatory when it’s minus 15 out, so we thought if people could make them at home and bring them, it would be much easier.”
Another highlight is a pyrotechnic display set for 8 p.m. as well.
The ‘Greatest Year Ever’ exhibit will also be running in the Snell Auditorium of the Red Deer Public Library. The exhibit will showcase the various ways Red Deerians marked the centennial, said Bannerman.
“This is a place for our partner groups that have had centennial events, and for us, to have a display to show what we’ve all done throughout the year.”
Another plan is to provide paper lanterns coupled with glow sticks which will be distributed randomly. “At 7:30 p.m., the hope is that we can marshal people to opposite corners of the park and do a parade through the ice sculptures and light barrels which will be there as well. We want that to be the lead in to the pyrotechnic grand finale.
“There will also be face-painting for kids and a choir that will be performing six different times through the evening.” There will also be centennial cake, chili and hot chocolate.
Meanwhile, it’s been a year packed with a range of activities and events that have helped residents celebrate Red Deer landing city status 100 years ago.
To that end, the Centennial Steering Committee was established in the fall of 2010.
The goal of the committee was to oversee the development of projects and events that would establish a sense of civic pride in Red Deer through commemorating the past, celebrating the present and that would also be instrumental in creating a vision for the future.
“Overall, we as a committee have a really good feeling about the year. We’ve done a huge variety of different things – some have been put on for people, some of them have invited people to participate.
“Some of them have been legacy projects that we will be leaving behind for the enjoyment of Red Deerians in the future. And many were partner projects. So in many, many ways we have celebrated the centennial and I feel really happy about it.”
Celebrations capped off by fireworks last New Year’s Eve at Bower Ponds marked the start of centennial celebrations.
And as mentioned, over the year there have been a plethora of activities and events to mark the occasion from the Centennial Cake Competition at Parkland Mall last February to Tree House Youth Theatre’s presentation of Red Deer River Stories, which hit the stage in May.
The Homecoming Festival, held in late June, included several events and was to wrap up with a state-of-the-art River of Light show launched from Fort Normandeau. Unfortunately, that had to be cancelled due to extensive flooding, but an alternative utilizing the barrels was planned for Fort Normandeau for the public to enjoy.
Ultimately, organizers said this year was about appreciating the past and those who worked to build the City as well as continuing to build on that community pride as residents look beyond the 100-year mark.
“I have met hundreds of Red Deerians, and I’ve chatted with a lot of people because I have often ended up serving cake at events. People sometimes start to talk then, so the things I’ve learned about Red Deerians have really increased my appreciation of this City and the people who live here.
“I got involved with this project, because I love Red Deer and I really felt it was worth celebrating. I feel that way even more now.
“It’s a really great City with a really diverse population of wonderful people.”
Check out www.reddeer2013.ca.