COCHRANE— Ringing in Canada's birthday in style on July 1, Cochrane and Area Events Society is hard at work planning in-person and virtual events to celebrate.
Canada Day events are being carefully constructed and plans are in place to account for every situation possible in terms of COVID-19 public health measures, said president Erika Richards.
She said a key component of the planning has been approaching the day as a fluid event, so activities can be added as the province continues to ease public health restrictions.
“We started at the shutdown stage and we’ll build and add things as we go,” Richards said. “If we can add things, we will— We are planning for all contingencies.”
It has been exciting preparing for Canada Day 2021 because Cochrane and Area Events Society volunteers face a different challenge in planning celebrations in comparison to 2020— They are now able to open up instead of facing shutdowns.
Given the mass cancellations of events Cochranites have faced over the last year, Richards said, volunteers felt driven to bring a celebration to town that helps foster a sense of community, joy and happiness.
Through careful planning, they have found a balance between in-person and virtual entertainment to bring to Cochrane.
“Last year we brought the party to people’s houses. Now, this year we’re trying to bring the party to the neighbourhoods,” Richards said.
One of the highlights of Canada Day will be an exclusive online concert featuring legendary country star George Canyon.
Canyon will be performing live at an undisclosed location in Cochrane at 7 p.m. The event will be livestreamed on various Facebook pages. It will be a one-time show and cannot be rebroadcasted.
“Nobody sings O Canada better,” Richards said. “We’re super excited.”
Canyon's performance is one of a slew of activities planned to celebrate the nation's birthday.
Outdoor activities for Canada Day start at noon and will be running until 4 p.m. Virtual entertainment and online contests will also take place throughout the day.
Other events include a parade featuring classic cars, princesses, superheroes and the Cochrane Jeepers visiting different neighbourhoods in town.
Family-friendly activities are also planned at four separate locations and will include games, food trucks and more.
An especially fun event is a planned bike rally that includes different stops and timed tasks around Cochrane. Activities will include racing up and down the stairs at the Historic Cochrane Ranche, disc golf, horseshoes and more.
“It’s all going to incorporate activities you can do outdoors in Cochrane,” Richards said. “We’re trying to get people to explore the town and move, and also have staggered times so that we’re not crowding people.”
A trivia walk down main street is also planned. Richards said the trivia walk is designed to get people to visit downtown Cochrane and connect with local businesses.
A market will also be taking at the Social Spot.
In the lead-up, to Canada Day the Events Society has planned a scavenger hunt allowing youth to hunt down stuffed animals hidden around Cochrane.
Other virtual and in-person contests are planned and prizes from local businesses and Cochrane Dollars will be up for grabs.
Richards added The Events Society is looking to potentially add activities at Mitford Park, including fireworks to end the day, if they are allowed, but all changes need to be approved by the Town of Cochrane. They are closely consulting with Alberta Health Services and Cochrane's Emergency Coordination Centre to ensure the event is COVID-19 compliant.
Cochrane and Area Events Society event coordinator Kailey Mitchell said they are carefully working with the Town of Cochrane and watching the provincial government as they develop activities that will take place throughout the day.
“We hope that people will spend time doing the activities during the day and then we’ll go home have supper and watch the show,” Mitchell said. “It’s bringing Cochrane together.”
The Event Society has a selection of local talent providing virtual performances. Mitchell added some of these performances will be in person if allowed.
Last year people enjoyed having different activities taking place in their communities, and the Event Society is hoping to once again see people participate, especially as restrictions are eased.
“We have a really good combination of activities for everybody this year,” Mitchell said.
The Cochrane and Area Events Society is a volunteer-run organization that plans several celebrations in town including Canada Day, the Labour Day Parade, Stuff-a-Bus and New Year's.
The Events Society is looking for volunteers to help run Canada Day Events. For more information and to learn more about planned activities visit the CAES Facebook.