Family Day Unplugged 2017 was fun-filled and full of activities for families to participate in and to stay “unplugged” from technology so participants could connect with their friends, family and the community.
The Town of Strathmore organized this year’s Family Day celebrations in conjunction with several community partners who hosted several of the planned events.
The day started off with a pancake breakfast put on by the Cheadle Lions Club, complete with magicians and a face painter.
During the breakfast, Strathmore Mayor Michael Ell announced the winner of the Strathmore 150 logo contest. The contest, launched in December, saw entries from Grade 7 to 12 students from Strathmore and Wheatland County. The top five entries were chosen, and over 500 votes were made by members of the community on their favourite logo. The winner was Grade 8 student Emmeline Keeling, and four runners-up were Kiera McQuinn, Katie Zakariasen, Jayla Kenney and Kylie Bishop.
Keeling’s winning logo included a train in the centre of a maple leaf, surrounded by wheat, a cattail and people holding hands.
“I knew I wanted the maple leaf in it to represent Canada and something to show the diversity in this town [people], as well as the train because that’s how this town first started: we were ‘the town that moved.’ I also wanted to show nature – the wheat and cattail – because the natural beauty is my favourite part of Strathmore,” said Keeling.
The logo was printed onto 150 buttons for people who attended the Family Day breakfast. Keeling herself received a shirt with the logo printed on it.
“This represents the strength of our community and joining hands and working together and being proud of Canada,” said Strathmore mayor Michael Ell on the winning logo.
Ell noted the Family Day celebrations are the kick-off to the town’s Canada 150 celebrations. “This is all about celebrating Canada and our Canadian history and the Canadian future that we have,” said Ell. “One of the ways to do it is to celebrate Family Day, which originally started in Alberta.”
The Youth Club of Strathmore also hosted a carnival with several games and many prizes for children while the breakfast was going on.
Ice fishing and skating on Kinsmen Park Lake were cancelled due to thin and melting ice.
Other events held at Kinsmen Park included hot chocolate served by Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) and donated by Simply Elegant Catering, and hot chicken noodle soup donated by Rocky’s Bakery.
HEAL organized wagon rides by Stewart Farms, donated by the Lions Club.
The Strathmore Fire Department was also on hand with a giant fire pit to help keep participants warm, and they handed out whistles and other small gifts to children.
“We started the ‘great skate’ 10 years ago, and at the time, there wasn’t anything else going on. It has gradually built up and now there are a lot of activities in town,” said Robert Breitwieser, media spokesperson for HEAL.
The Real Estate REPs handed out freshly popped popcorn.
“We come to Family Day events every year faithfully. It’s my favourite day in Strathmore to be honest,” said Jennifer Jousset who has lived in Strathmore for eight years and has attended eight Family Day events in Strathmore. “I like that every year it changes and gets bigger and bigger. There is something new to do every year and it just gets better.”
Later in the day, 5 for Life hosted a free family swim at the Civic Centre where participants could swim, drink hot chocolate, play games and win prizes.
“The Town of Strathmore, Lions Club, and other volunteers are fantastic for putting this on,” said Jousset. “I hope they keep it up and that people keep coming so the event will keep growing and more stuff will be added to it.”
As owner of Anarchy Motorsports, Jousset added she would like her business to be involved in next year’s Family Day celebrations.
That sits right with Breitwieser.
“We want to get people in the community together and build community that way,” he said. “Family Day in Strathmore has grown over the years. It gets people out and away from their TVs and computers and gets them outside to get fresh air and meet people. This is really important.”