Family and friends were joined by nearly an entire community as they celebrated the centennial of a farm near Sylvan Lake Saturday night.
The Bystrom family farm south of Sylvan Lake played host to more than 150 people who enjoyed an evening of music, food and fellowship in celebration of the family’s 100 years on the farm.
According to Pauline Lohrenz, who lives on the farm with husband Tyson and children Jemma and Karlena, it was the kind of party that comes along only once every 100 years.
“It was fantastic, really,” she said. “We had all the community, plus two sides of the family all at once, so it was something that doesn’t happen very often, and I was glad that we could facilitate that.”
While the party has been a long time coming — 100 years, to be exact — it was only after the Lohrenzes moved into an original home on the farm that the idea to hold some sort of celebration was floated.
And it didn’t take long to pick up steam.
“When we moved there, we knew that the centennial of the farm was coming up, and we kind of thought we’d just have a Bystrom family reunion,” said Lohrenz, a Bystrom herself. “Then as we started talking more about it, we thought maybe we should celebrate 100 years. It’s not like that’s going to come up again for a while.”
The party’s invitation list quickly began to grow, and eventually included several generations of family members — some of whom lived on the farm at one point — friends, neighbours and community members.
“There are some people who are getting older, and they’re the ones that actually remember the farm, so it was something that we wanted to get them to so they could explain where things had been and how they remembered the farm,” said Lohrenz. “Then it got bigger, and because our (Centreville) community is a fairly tight-knit community, and they all remember this farm as well, we didn’t really feel it was right not to have them come too.”
The farm has seen plenty of changes since it was purchased by Swan and Karolena Bystrom in 1913. But there are also some things that have remained unchanged, such as an original chicken house, and original barn that’s remained unmoved for over 100 years.
There’s also the original home, which the Lohrenzes heavily renovated and now live in.
“It’s changed significantly,” said Lohrenz. “We still have plans for more improvements, and then we’ll look at doing things with the barn and that sort of thing as well, but we figure that will be another party,” she added with a laugh.
As for the future of the farm, Lohrenz has plans for she and her husband to raise their children on it while at the same time running their oilfield service company.
They have no doubt that it will remain in the family for generations to come.
“We’ve gotten this far, so it might as well,” she said. “That is the goal.”
Whether it will ever again see a party like Saturday’s, however, remains uncertain.
“You kind of have to look at those things and say it’s not going to happen again,” said Lohrenz.
“It’s a good reason to celebrate, and I don’t think that people celebrate agriculture enough, so you should take the opportunity if you have it.”