HARD WORK - Gord, a volunteer smith, sears a fresh-out-of-the-fire rod as he burns a name into a plank of wood in the Blacksmith Shop Museum in Lacombe during the Lacombe Days last year. The Blacksmith Shop Museum was built in 1902 and is Alberta’s oldest functioning blacksmith shop. Lacombe Express file photo

Lacombe Days returns with new attractions

Plenty to do for the entire family during fun-filled event

Lacombe’s annual four-day celebration Lacombe Days is returning from July 27th-30th and promises to build on the progress of last year’s festival.

According to Chris Ross, chair of the Lacombe Days committee, the fun-filled event will have several new events to go along with popular events that Lacombe residents have enjoyed in years past.

The event will also feature a special dedication of the new LAVIII Armoured vehicle, which was brought into town to honour Canadians who served in Afghanistan, particularly Lacombe resident Master Cpl. Byron Greff, who served in the Third Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry and was the last Canadian to lose his life in Afghanistan.

“We are having a dedication to Master Cpl. Byron Greff, who passed away in Afghanistan. It will be a significant part of the Lacombe Days parade. We will have a strong military presence at the parade,” Ross said.

The parade will run on Saturday and anyone can enter to have their float participate.

Lacombe Days will feature many new events like Dr. Von Houligan’s Carnival of Calamities and Locavore Lacombe.

According to the Lacombe Days web site, Locavore allows participants to, “Experience an event celebrating the Lacombe food and beverage culture; savour delicious tastings of local food and drinks prepared by professional chefs and connect with the producers that bring the food and drinks to your table.”

Ross also noted a new slo-pitch tournament is coming to town for Lacombe Days.

“We have the 32-team Red Eye slo-pitch tournament, which will have the lights up in the night. They are still looking for a couple more teams,” Ross said.

The ball tournament will have a home run derby, food trucks, beer gardens and free camping on the Michener Park diamonds.

Another event that is returning due to popular demand is the Country Rising Stage, which this year will be featuring artists Steve Arsenault with guest artists Alecia Aichelle, Jamie Woodfin and Amy Metcalfe on Friday and Randi Boulton with guest band Sneeker on Saturday.

“We have had an overwhelming response to our Country Rising Night,” Ross added.

Meanwhile, the weekend will kickoff with the Field Crop Development Centre Barley Pancake Breakfast and the weekend will feature barbecues and breakfasts everyday.

Other highlights include, on Friday, the AFSC Charity Pancake Breakfast from 7 to 9 a.m.; Michener House Museum tours and Flatiron Museum tours.

There will also be blacksmithing demonstrations at the Blacksmith Shop Museum from 1 – 4 p.m. and guided walking tours from 2 – 3 p.m. which start from the Michener House Museum.

This walking tour will explore Lacombe’s rich history, fascinating architecture and beautiful murals, according to the Lacombe Days web site.

Also on Saturday, you can check out the Geocache Scavenger Hunt throughout the City all day – sign in at the LMC info booth from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. to get the coordinates to find the prizes.

There is also a pancake breakfast at the Gary Moe Auto Sportsplex Curling Rink from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. in support of St. Stephen’s Catholic Church building fundraiser.

Also, check out ‘Barn Hunt Fun Days’ in the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex Arena 1 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Barn Hunt is the new and quick-growing dog sport based on the traditional roles of many breeds in ridding farms and barns of destructive vermin.

A full list of the multitude of events is available at lacombedays.ca and everything is made possible through the help of the community, according to Ross.

“We have made every effort possible within our financial means and our volunteer availability to increase Lacombe Days,” he explained. “The biggest challenge is to gather the volunteers and organizations to assist us and help us expand Lacombe Days.

“You always want to see it bigger and better and you do whatever possible you can do with the community support you have. We have had overwhelming sponsorship support from the community.”

Ross explained that a small organizing committee cannot put on this event without the support they have received.

“It is great to see it succeed and each year in the last four years that I have been part of it, we have tried to take some steps forward,” Ross said.

“There are wonderful people and organizations in the community that have helped and we appreciate that.

“We also try to be creative with our sponsors,” he said. “If they can provide an event or activity and have a passion to come forward with it, it helps. That is where the community atmosphere comes together and what makes it all work.”

todd.vaughan@reddeerexpress.com