COCHRANE— The Labour Day Parade was a complete success, thanks to the Cochrane and Area Events Society and all of the organizations that participated in this year’s event.
“We were really happy with it, we had a really good turnout, and obviously the weather played a really big factor in how great it went. It was the nicest weather we’ve had in four years that I’ve been doing it,” said Kailey Mitchell, programs manager with the Cochrane and Area Events Society. “I think the floats were really entertaining and everybody seemed to really enjoy it.”
The parade only had 50 floats registered for this year’s event, and on a typical year the event sees roughly 70 floats registered, Mitchell said. Despite the lower numbers, the parade still seemed to be a hit with residents.
“I think it was still really entertaining. It was great to be able to have a real parade again and to get everybody out and enjoying themselves. I think it went really well,” she said.
Mitchell said the society was excited to see the large crowds that had gathered to watch the event, and felt as though the anticipation for the parade had been building for some time.
“I think people have been really craving the event and being able to do things as normally as possible and be able to facilitate that a little bit and still be able to space people out downtown,” she said. “People are wanting to get things back to normal, so we were expecting there would be a pretty good turnout … It’s also the long weekend before we go back to school so with the long weekend you never know what you’re going to get.”
Despite the recent changes with provincial health restrictions everyone at the Cochrane and Area Events Society felt confident in the safety of the spectators.
“We felt pretty safe with it being outdoors and people doing things to their own comfort levels outdoor, whether they decided to come and wear a mask, or whether they decided not to come. Because the route is so long there was an opportunity to space yourselves out, and I think because people have been living with this for so long people are just smarter with how they want to handle it,” she said.
The biggest problem, she said, was that there were not enough volunteers to staff all of the barricades along the parade route, leading to a few issues with the barricades being moved.
Mitchell said the society is always looking for volunteers for their events, and to keep an eye on cochraneevents.ca, or on the Cochrane and Area Events Society’s Facebook page for announcements on upcoming events and volunteer opportunities.
Chairra Nicolle, the executive director of the Helping Hands Society of Cochrane and Area, said it was an honour to be selected as the parade marshals of this year’s parade.
“We felt very honoured to be selected by the Cochrane and Area Events committee, and we were really excited to be a part of the parade this year as the parade marshals,” Nicolle said.
Nicolle said she was impressed by how smoothly the event ran this year.
“It was so well organized and so well run. Lots of people came out, lots of smiling faces and everybody seemed to be having a good time,” she said.
When the parade began, Nicolle said she was expecting a quiet parade because of the smaller crowd in Historic Downtown. Once the parade crossed the tracks onto Railway Street she was surprised to see the amount of people who had shown up.
“We were quite surprised because we went down Main Street and it was quiet and then we went around the corner and it was like ‘oh, that’s where all the people are,’” she said. “It was such a great turnout, especially since last year we didn’t have one it was nice to see so many people out and about. It was a beautiful day.”
Nicolle said she felt like Cochrane had returned to its old self, at least for that morning.
“It was such a great feeling to be immersed in the community, everybody came out, we had spectators, we had all the other organizations and individuals walking. It felt like Cochrane again,” she said. “It’s something that we have missed because Helping Hands – we typically have the big community food drives twice a year and we haven’t been able to be part of that. Cochrane is known for all of its events and activities where the community comes together, it was so great to see everyone out and about.”
Each year members of the Cochrane and Area Events Society choose their favourite floats in the parade and awards them bragging rights, and a donation to a charity of their choice. This year’s winners are the Al Azhar Shriners, the Guns of the Golden West, Men in Kilts, the Cochrane Public Library, Cowboy Church and Snap Dance Studio.