Thank you to Saint City Brass for performing at the Picnic's opening ceremonies.
Rendezvous Picnic Review
By Susan Jones
Something about St. Albert’s 150th Anniversary Celebration Rendezvous 2011 Picnic has me singing — singing the blues, singing with joy — just singing. I keep thinking of old songs: To dream the impossible dream! Or maybe the song Is that all there is to a fire (picnic)?
What a dream we had, all of us! And now it’s over! As Daffy Duck might say, “ Da, da, da, da, da da! That’s all folks!” Maybe we were looney tunes to think we could pull it off, but we did!
I tried to walk from one end of the picnic to the other. Heck! I tried to take a bus and a horsey ride from one end to the other! I couldn’t see it all. There was simply too much to see and do for one person to get to everything.
I saw only positives. I saw happy people wherever I went from the Gazette staffers who happily cooked too many pancakes for the volunteer breakfast to a weary, still-smiling Picnic Manager Cheryl Mackenzie at the end of the day. Everyone, for the most part had a good time as they honoured the past, cherished the moment and celebrated and ignited the spirit of the future.
My longest memories will surely be of all those eager, willing yellow-shirted volunteers, who did whatever was asked.
There are the biggies of course: Kent La Rose, Celine Leonard, Cheryle Wong and Cheryl Mackenzie, Jeanne Irwin; the Lociceros and Susan Rossmann and Brigitte Gilmore, and City staffers such as Roy Bedford and John Younie. Those are just a few of the many and I know there were others that were there from before sun-up to after sundown Saturday and Sunday.
But I’m thinking especially of the staffers from Community Information and Volunteer Centre, who sat in the sun and cheerfully helped — even pregnant Lorraine. I'm thinking also of a lady named Judy, who is new to St. Albert, but who came out early in the morning because, “I knew they would need help for such a big event.” There were dozens and dozens of others who simply came out to help… Pauline Vaugeois, all the potters, quilters and painters, and the Alliance Church members.
So many of the volunteers just came out for the one day and I don’t know their names, but wow; what a difference they made. There were so many yellow T-shirts it was wonderful! Some of them moved mid-day when they were asked to go to a different area. They were sunburned but happy at the end of the day.
One volunteer told me he finished setting up in the morning and was on his way home but he was stopped in the Kinsmen parking lot by two elderly francophone ladies who demanded a ride to the francophone ceremonies. So he drove them! They said they had already been by the little church once that morning, but an officer was handing out tickets. So they drove to the Kinsmen Korral and then needed a ride. And the tired volunteer drove them! Then he went out again in the late afternoon to take down. “I wonder how those ladies got back?” he asked. Well done!
To all of the volunteers, “thank you, thank you, thank you.”
And then there is Carol Watamaniuk, who started the “thank you” chant at the opening ceremonies. She called the picnic a “Celebration” and it was. How fitting that Carol Watamaniuk led us in O Canada! How very fitting because she has been there for this picnic, and with this picnic since its inception. Way to go Carol!
Way to go Margaret and Richard Plain too! On your 50th Anniversary, there you were celebrating with St. Albert. Thank you for ALL your contributions to the 150th events!
Next time… Here and there folks said to me, “Next time try this. Or next time you might do that.” That tells me they had a great time. It wasn’t perfect, but they are thinking “Next” because they loved the picnic. There was so much; from bunnies, to francophone celebrations, to duck races, to Eskimo cheerleaders, to martial arts, to everything that happened, people saw and saw and saw some more. They marveled too. They marveled because little St. Albert put this on! Wow!
Almost perfect I’ll also remember a small boy named Liam, who I met at about 3 PM in the Kingswood Youthapalooza kids’ activity/craft tent. He was decorating his flag with sticky things and alphabet letters. For me Liam has become the symbol of the picnic because though he had a great time, he wanted more. He wanted perfection and I couldn’t give it to him.
“I need an ‘A.’ My name is Liam, so I need an ‘A’, he explained. Together we looked in the pile of letters for an ‘A.’ Truthfully, by then I could hardly stand anymore. I’d had too much sun and too much fun. I’d hit the volunteer-wall, and it was hard to go on. But I helped look, albeit a little crankily.
“There are no ‘A’s’,” I said, a little shortly.
The boy, who was perhaps six or seven, looked at my name tag and insisted, “Look Susan! I need an ’A’ because my name is Liam.”
“Yes I see that,” I said. I looked at the next table, but was told, “There are no ‘A’s’ left!”
I went to the third table where someone said, “Look lady! Use an upside down ‘V’ and then use an ‘I’ as a crossbar. Then you have an ‘A’”
So I took the two letters back to Liam, who looked and said very simply, “That’s a ‘V’! I need an ‘A.’ My name is Liam.”
Whereupon he pulled all the letters off his flag, changed his design, and glued on a daisy instead. Liam! You are my hero!
Well done, St. Albert! Well done!
Area-by-Area Overview & Schedules
Click on site’s number to view its schedule
This free family picnic stretched the length of St. Albert’s river valley, with activities happening from Kinsmen Park all the way to Kingswood Park.
Area 1 – Kinsmen Concert, Naturalist & Sport Zone [view schedule]
The St. Albert Kinsmen will be hosting a Main Stage Afternoon featuring DRT; Longwaydown; Leah Durelle with Ralph Pretz;Roland Majeau; and the Canada Day Battle of the Bands winner, GURL.
Ducks Unlimited will be offering opportunities to residents to learn more about Big Lake and enjoy a guided tour of the new John E. Poole Interpretive Boardwalk. Local interpreters present everything there is to know about the area. Ducks Unlimited will also be hosting a silent auction in the Kinsmen Banquet Centre and launching their popular Duck Derby from the Train Bridge over the Sturgeon River. View Activity Schedule
The St. Albert BMX Club will demonstrate their sport on the newly opened BMX circuit in the Riel Business Park. Local sports groups will also be encouraged to open their doors and host an open house event to showcase their programs.
The Arts & Heritage Foundation volunteers will provide guided tours of the new Grain Elevator Park. In addition, local entertainers will be on stage throughout the afternoon providing a cappella entertainment.
In addition to local entertainers, the Cornerstone Quartet will be on stage throughout the afternoon.
Area 3 – Fortis & Bourgeois Aboriginal Showcase [view schedule]
A local aboriginal group will offer an afternoon of music, dance and storytelling. Under the direction of Ryan Arcand, residents will be treated to displays of jiggers, hoop dancers and drummers. Between shows, local Elders will be present to tell and pass on stories that have been told through the years.
The City of St. Albert Community Band will also provide shows in this area throughout the afternoon.
Area 4 – Sarasota Homes presents “Wheels” [view schedule]
Lions Park and Millennium Park will host WHEELS for the afternoon. A collection of local car enthusiasts will have their cars on display and celebrity judging will take place in the morning with the public casting ballots from noon – 1:30 PM. Emergency and military vehicles will also be on display.
UP 99.3 will be live on location from 10:30 AM – 2:30 PM.
8 AM — start time
10 AM to 5 PM — Car Show
The first 200 cars will be given a dash plaque. No registration required but please show up early as this area will fill up quickly.
City Hall will be the site of many activities. At 11:30 AM, the Picnic will kick off with the Opening Ceremonies in front of St. Albert Place. We will hear from local dignitaries and organizers and they will open the picnic with a bang. The first 1,000 people will kick off the picnic with a celebration cupcake.
City Hall will also host the Potters Guild on the back patio as they showcase their talents and invite you to participate in an interactive clay display. The Painters Guild members will be on site painting outside to allow spectators to watch as their talents unfold on the canvas.
Calgary’s “Historical Wrangler” will deliver a stage show that everyone is sure to enjoy. He will be providing signed copies of a book he wrote that covers 150 years of Alberta’s history. Father Lacombe and the history of St. Albert are featured in his works.
An area between St. Anne Street and St. Thomas Street will be closed off for Street Art. Everyone is invited to create with chalk art.
The St. Albert Art Gallery will provide interactive art for children to experience.
Walking along the trails, you will also find a number of stations with local musicians to entertain passersby.
Area 6 – ACFA Francophone celebration [view schedule]
The ACFA is excited to be celebrating their 85th Anniversary alongside the City of St. Albert. They will be hosting a celebration at the bottom of the Seven Hills with a stage show featuring famous children's entertainer Alex Mahé, children's crafts and other entertainment.
Area 7 – Scouts Canada Interactive Display [view schedule]
The local Scouts group will set up a camp at the Rendezvous Picnic to showcase their program to the community. Tents, cooking and outdoor skills will be showcased throughout the afternoon.
Scouts Canada will be assisting in the collection of recyclable bottles and other containers and will be the recipient of the proceeds of these collections.
Area 8 – Community Demonstration Zone [view schedule]
This area is home to three activities:
Makin’ Trax will produce a dog agility show throughout the afternoon. Dogs of all shapes and sizes will show off their talents in this entertaining display.
Local martial artists will present different forms of martial arts throughout the afternoon in a dedicated presentation area.
The St. Albert Chamber of Commerce will host an old-fashioned picnic. Come out and participate in three-legged races, balloon toss, and many other events. Members registered in the COC Participation Challenge will be able to participate to earn points.
Area 9 – McDonald’s Family Fun Zone [view schedule]
As always, the Water Park will be a big hit. It will be a place to cool off from what we anticipate to be a very warm and sunny day. In addition, the Skateboard Park will be open for BMX and board enthusiasts. This will be a great location to pull up a blanket and have a picnic.
St. Albert Minor Baseball Association will open their doors and provide the Food Concession for this area.
Eskimos/Oilers will be providing an Interactive Gaming Exhibit in the parking lot of SAMBA.
4H will be on site highlighting their Bunny Agility Program. Drop by and see what these little creatures can do.
The Botanical Gardens will be open and invite everyone to stop by and visit. Musicians will be performing throughout the afternoon in the gardens for everyone’s enjoyment.
Keep your head up; Amazing Chasers will be on the trails between Red Willow Waterpark and Kingswood Park. Think you have some “Amazing Chasers” in your family? Send them early to register for the Race at the Information Booth in Kingswood Park (Area 10).
The 150th Anniversary Youth Subcommittee has worked hard to put together a program that everyone will enjoy. The site will be hosted by DJ KAPERS &Harlley Snow offering music that youth will love to party to.
On site will be eight “Inflatable” Events. From Bungees to Obstacle Course, Toddler Areas to Sumo Wrestling, it will be a fun afternoon. Dunk Tanks and Under 8 Fish Tanks will be open as well.
Express yourself in our Craft Tent. Here, children will be able to sign up to make a kite or design and build their own flag. Other random craft projects may be completed here as well.
The 150th Anniversary Youth Subcommittee has also designed an Amazing Chase. Sign up early; spots are limited. Teams will be asked to complete a series of activities. The first 3 teams in each of the two races will receive great prizes.
The site will host a demonstration circle where local groups including a local Tae Kwon Do Club will be asked to come and show off their talents.
Keep a lookout for some professional talent here; rumour has it an Edmonton Oilers Cheer Team may make an appearance.
Cultivate your skills and celebrate St. Albert. Bring your drawings of St. Albert to our office at 109B, 50 St. Thomas Street. You will receive a free St. Albert 150th Anniversary logo sling bag and your art will appear on our website. Children 10 and under only, please. One bag per child.