An action-packed Fun Fair marking the beginning of Hockeyville celebrations on Sunday couldn’t have gone any better, say organizers, who feel it provided an ideal start to four days of related festivities.
“Everybody’s happy, it’s just a beautiful day, we’re at the beach — life doesn’t get much better,” said Sylvan Lake Hockeyville committee chair Graham Parsons.
Live music, entertainment and games at Centennial Park offered no shortage of things to do or see throughout the afternoon. There were even a few surprises, including a flashmob led by Spandy Andy in the middle of a speech by Mayor Sean McIntyre.
“That was incredible, I’ve never been flashmobbed before,” said McIntyre, before continuing on with his acknowledgements of those who helped make the town’s Kraft Hockeyville dream a reality: “Generous sponsors, good neighbours, tireless volunteers, and a community with hockey in its blood that comes together when it counts.”
“The community spirit that has resulted from all of this is truly priceless,” he said. “Hockeyville has helped us come together, it has helped define us, and it’s helped inspire us.
“Our community has helped to show the world — and, more importantly, we’ve helped to show ourselves — what community really means.”
McIntyre noted that the town is still down an arena, but assured rebuilding would be taking place “very soon” with the Multiplex Redevelopment Project now well underway.
“As we enter this next season, and as the shovels hit the ground, remember that this process will be long, and the work will be hard, but what we’re building is for all of us, and it will last generations,” he said. “We’ve started this journey together, and we’re going to continue this journey together.”
The fair, billed by organizers as ‘Sunday Funday,’ attracted families from both in town and around the province.
Deirdre and Evan Aubie, who recently relocated to Sylvan Lake from New Brunswick, said events such as Sunday’s have allowed them to become better acquainted with the town. They’ve also given them an insight into the type of place Sylvan Lake is.
“We love it,” said Deirdre.
Parsons said he felt Sunday marked a major step toward the organizing committee’s goal of making Sylvan Lake “the best Hockeyville ever.”
“Kraft does know how to put a party together, but so do we,” he said. “What a day.”
Committee member Megan Chernoff said Hockeyville volunteers were plentiful following the three days of ticket balloting earlier this month — so much so that some had to be turned away.
That, she feels, was a problem organizers were fortunate to have.
“People were signing up, and we were turning them away by halfway through the second of the three balloting days, so that was awesome,” she said. “Originally, we were kind of panicking about it and we were short, but after day one of balloting, everyone came through.”
Kraft sampling tents, bouncy castles and NHL alumni were also on site throughout the day on Sunday. As was the Stanley Cup, which was making its second visit to the town this year.
Hockeyville celebrations wrapped with yesterday’s (Sept. 24) NHL preseason game between the Arizona Coyotes and the Calgary Flames.
See more photos in this week’s paper.