With over 40 events taking place in four days, there will be no shortage of fun for all ages during this year’s Lacombe Days.
Taking place July 25-28, the annual summer festival will once again celebrate the community’s roots, spirit and charm, as well as its ability to collaborate with those nearby with several new marquee events.
The first of the major events will be the Soapy’s Street Performer Spectacular July 25, which Lacombe Days organizer Rosanne Kerekes says will build off of Red Deer’s Centrefest the same weekend.
“We’ve partnered with Centrefest, so they’re bringing in the performers one day earlier for us,” she said. “We’re kind of following their ‘Battle of the Buskers.’”
Six professional street performers will showcase their talents in a battle for the newly created Lacombe Days Golden Hat award. A ticketed event for those 18 years of age and older, attendees will get to decide the winner using “Soapy’s Street Cash,” that comes with their $30 admission.
The AFSC Pancake Breakfast will officially kick the festival off at 7 a.m. earlier in the day at the AFSC building. Afterwards, the Family Theatre will feature “Motivational Magic” with magician Steve Harmer at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., while Sunny 94 will host a kick-off barbecue.
On Friday, July 26, among the main attractions will be BMX Day featuring professional riders and gear from a number of companies at Michener Park, and the return of the drive-in movie – this year, “Shazam!” will be playing – at the Wolf Creek School grounds.
In the evening, the Viking Projects Wing and Beer Fest will take place at the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex at 6 p.m., which is replacing Locavore Lacombe as the major food event of the festival.
Also an 18-plus ticketed event, it will feature four restaurants competing for best wings in three different flavour categories, and five breweries looking to claim the title of best cask, while female due Tandem Yam will supply live music.
Those looking for a family-friendly food event, meanwhile, can head to the Morrison House Cafe on 51 Ave. to celebrate the historical home’s 100th birthday with cake and icecream from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m.
New parade entertainment
The iRecover Parade will start Saturday off at 9:30 a.m. and take it’s usual course through the city’s downtown. Absent from the entertainment will be a marching band.
“We’ve been hard-pressed to come by marching bands – some take the summer off, some are away at competition, so we’re trying out some new entertainment this year,” said Kerekes. “We’re bringing in some stilt walkers and jugglers rather than marching bands – I think it’ll be fun, especially for the kids.”
A Show n’ Shine will once again take place in the Lacombe Memorial Centre parking lot following the parade, and for lunch you’ll have your choice of three different barbecues – The Chalk-A-Lot Charity BBQ for Big Brothers Big Sisters at the Canadian Bible Baptist Church, the Lacombe Jr. Firefighter Games and barbecue in support of the local fire department, and a free barbecue at the Greenway Inn where donations will be accepted for the Lacombe Food Bank.
Inflatables will return for the kids and kids-at-heart, but this year they’ll be set up in the sportsplex parking lot near the splash park in effort to move as much as possible to the downtown core to improve accessibility and walkability to festival events.
In the evening, CPRA-sanctioned bullriding and cabaret will take place in support of the Lacombe Ringette Association.
Fireworks are back
Fireworks will also make their return to Lacombe Days.
Last year, the Lacombe Days committee axed fireworks, in part because of the cost, and instead chose to put on two light shows. The light shows, however, lacked the “wow” factor they were looking for and the decision was made to bring them back.
“The light shows were not popular and it just didn’t go the way we expected it, either, in regards to the actual show,” said Kerekes. “We created our own fireworks crew to help support the fireworks in Lacombe. It’s great because we’re not putting the money into service fees, just into fireworks so the crew’s really excited for it.”
Teaming up with the Blackfalds Pyro Crew, volunteers took a training course and have helped in the pyro crew’s previous three shows. Following the Lacombe Days’ fireworks show, the volunteers will be able to be signed off to do their own shows.
The fireworks are set to go off at 11 p.m. at Cranna Lake, but the public is invited to come early, as fire performers, live music and a few food trucks will be on site.
Sunday will focus a bit more on culture aspect, including a horse pull at the Lacombe Ag Grounds at 11 a.m. and Indian Relay Races at the Track on 2 at 1 p.m.
Within the community, the Kita no Taiko Japanese drummers will perform at 1 p.m. at the LMC alongside the old-fashioned penny carnival.
The Lacombe Museum, meanwhile, will have a plethora of activities from walking tours to demonstrations and workshops throughout the entire four-day festival.
“Creating those partnerships with Centrefest and with the Blackfalds Pyro Crew and getting out of our community a little bit has been really nice,” Kerekes said. “I’m excited about the partnerships and creating some new opportunities for us.”
For more information, or to view the full schedule, visit www.lacombedays.ca.