Cochranites were not about to let a little rain stop them from celebrating one of the last jam-packed weekends of summer.
Cochrane Culture Days brought the arts and entertainment, The Amazing Cochrane Culture Quest brought the education and adventure and the Show N’ Shine brought the class, Sept. 11 and 12.
Jane Kaczmer, president of the Cochrane Integrated Arts Society who organized Culture Days said that the turnout was still pretty good despite the rain, thanks to some coordination between the other two events.
“We had a fair number of people come through, certainly on Sunday when the Cochrane Classic Car Club had their Show N’ Shine as well,” Kaczmer said. “Their numbers were down but there were a lot of faithful that came with their cars and lots of people came out to see them. So that was good for us at Centennial Plaza. We had good audiences there because we were kind of providing entertainment for them as well, it was a good collaboration.”
The Lions Club Event Centre, Historic Downtown and Centennial Plaza were the centre of the weekend’s festivities. Culture Days hosted various stage performers including the Stoney Nakoda Mini Thni Dancers, the Cochrane Pipe Band and Jessica McMann, a local Cree musician and nominee for the Prophets of Music Emerging Artist Award for the YYC Music Awards.
Culture Days also hosted a Mesmer’s Glass Concert in the dark and invited WP Puppet Theatre to host a pop-up theatre where kids could make their own puppets. The Lions Club Event Centre was also home to an artist’s marketplace throughout the weekend.
Of the 250 or so vehicles that were expected to line the streets of Historic Downtown for the Cochrane Classic Car Club’s Show N’ Shine, only 75 came out.
Club president Ray Kaczmer said that the weather forecast was much worse than the actual weather the day of, but it still deterred many car owners from making the journey.
“We always hope the weather will be good, but you get what you get and that’s all there is to it,” he said. “The people that were there made the best of the poor situation, both the car owners and the spectators.”
The Amazing Cochrane Culture Quest which had 11 culture stops spread around town saw about half the number of people that were registered show up for the event.
Those that did attend were treated with an Indigenous sendoff ceremony before the race began on Sunday at Spray Lakes Sawmill Family Sports Centre (SLSFSC), where registrants also picked up their first clue to help direct them to their first of the 11 stops.
The culture stops included Germany, Ghana, the Philippines, Vietnam and more. Once registrants successfully decoded their clues, each stop would then provide them with another, eventually wrapping up at SLSFSC once they hit them all.
Each stop made a point to educate those in the race about its respective culture, often with fun surprises mixed in — like dancing, traditional clothing and cultural foods.
Candy Weisner, vice-president of the Cochrane Immigrant Services Committee who organized the event said the feedback was great from participants of all ages.
“We would ask each group when they came in what they thought and it didn’t matter whether they were a senior, a teenager or a four-year-old, they all really enjoyed it, they all felt they learned a lot,” she said. “They also said they had too much to eat.”
The goal was to raise awareness of the diversity of people who may be your neighbours.
“I hope that they took away a little bit of learning about other people’s cultures,” she said. “We all have heritage from somewhere and I think the learning from each other about the different cultures, as well as recognition of how diverse Cochrane is … people may not realize that we have people here from Ghana or Thailand, or wherever. We absolutely do and everyone’s very proud of their heritage and sharing it and learning from each other. I’m hoping that really resonated with residents.”
All three events were free to attend with the exception of a registration fee for car owners in the Show N’ Shine.