This article was submitted by the Sylvan Lake and District Archives Society as part of a series celebrating the society’s 20 years of existence this year. The Archives Society is open to the public every Tuesday and Thursday from noon to 4 p.m. at its new location in the lower level of the town’s Municipal Government Building.
In 1973, citizens of Sylvan Lake celebrated the town’s 60th birthday with a celebration in June. It was the first time ever as the regattas and other galas had always been held in the summer. It was such a success that the next year would have a second June celebration called 1913 Days, and people began planning activities around the weekend closest to June 15.
In February 1973, junior high school girls were selected for a competition to be Carnival Queen. The girl and her attendants who sold the most tickets to the Carnival, (Feb. 23 to 25) would be chosen. The name of the winner in 1973 was Roberta Wilson, who presided over festivities at the Carnival and also the 60th anniversary celebration. The same process for selecting a Queen was followed in 1974, but in 1975, a few changes were made, including a name change to ‘Miss Mermaid’.
Besides selling tickets, the girls were expected to show off a talent (thus was born the talent show held on Friday evening of the 1913 celebrations). The third requirement was to take part in a bathing suit contest. Once chosen, the girls were expected to ride on the town float in the 1913 Days parade and in other parades throughout the area.
In the 1980s, a third event was added to the girls’ duties when the first Mermaid Ball was held in the tournament house at the Golf and Country Club. This became the first of a yearly event where the Citizen of the Year, Business of the Year and Employee of the Year were given plaques and treated to a banquet and evening of dancing to live music.