Eager - A group of youngsters waited in anticipation with their bags for the next parade entrant distributing candy during Saturday’s ‘Parade of the Century’ celebrating Sylvan Lake’s 100th birthday. Others along the route clapped to show their appreciation for the floats. Thousands of people lined the parade route to watch 71 entries file by during about 45 minutes. Wet weather held off with just a few drops falling as the end of the parade hit Lakeshore Drive on the route home.

Eager - A group of youngsters waited in anticipation with their bags for the next parade entrant distributing candy during Saturday’s ‘Parade of the Century’ celebrating Sylvan Lake’s 100th birthday. Others along the route clapped to show their appreciation for the floats. Thousands of people lined the parade route to watch 71 entries file by during about 45 minutes. Wet weather held off with just a few drops falling as the end of the parade hit Lakeshore Drive on the route home.

Sylvan’s Centennial celebrations well attended, enjoyed, appreciated

“WOW!”, was the first word out of Brenda Dale’s mouth when asked her thoughts on Sylvan Lake’s Centennial celebrations.

“WOW!”, was the first word out of Brenda Dale’s mouth when asked her thoughts on Sylvan Lake’s Centennial celebrations.

“Volunteers took on leadership roles and built their teams. It’s amazing how they all worked together, sometimes with very little direction,” said Dale, who’s chairperson of the committee which organized the community’s celebration. “They were fun to be with, amazing.”

She was particularly happy with the Dance of the Century. “We had way more people than what we expected … the fun factor, the enjoyment of people in the room.”

Many long-time residents knew what to expect, she indicated, and “newcomers who did come were amazed at how much fun they could have”.

Another thing that overwhelmed her was the extent to which people went in dressing in costume. “It was way more than I expected.”

About 750 people flowed through the multiplex during the 10 hours of dancing, Dale estimated. The dance floor was busy and there were lots of kids.

“We always meant this to be a dance party for families,” she said, noting their goal was accomplished with at least three generations of people participating.

The transition from the big band era through the Varsity Hall days to rock and roll and finally the current era with the Boom Chucka Boys was great, Dale enthused, crediting Len Thompson for a lot of the success. Sound man Sean McIntyre also got kudos from Jazz Explosion whose members said it was their best performance ever because they were able to hear themselves playing.

Dale said she consulted the arena manager in the community where she grew up and got “some very sound advice” on how to lay out the room, deal with food and keep it a closed ticketed event to eliminate any problems with rowdyism.

Kerry Edgecombe did a “great job decorating” the multiplex. Lions Club members handled the bar and Remi’s Catering provided the food.

“We had great support from merchants donating prizes, sponsoring decades and promoting the event for us,” said Dale. Because of that half the tickets were already sold before they started their advertising campaign. “Reaching our goal was easy with that help. We could probably have sold 1,200 tickets but we could only put so many people in the building safely.”

Feedback she’s received is that the dance was the best event in the multiplex yet.

A personal highlight for Dale was participating in the parade, playing saxophone with friends in the Red Deer Community Adult Marching Band. However she experienced a few minutes of anxiety when she opened her case at the parade marshalling area 20 minutes before it was supposed to start and discovered she didn’t have her music. She raced home but couldn’t find it. She located the music at the multiplex where she’d set down her instrument while preparing for the dance later that day. And she was back to the marshalling area in time to begin the parade.

Because the band was early in the parade she was able to watch some of the entries file past before remembering she had to pick up coffee and birthday cake and be back to the multiplex for 3 p.m. With help she managed that feat too.

The number of horse entries, including some from out of the area, as well as the length and variety of parade entries impressed her.

Sunday’s events were moved to the arena due to inclement weather. The drum circle had good attendance and people managed to find the petting zoo, she said.

Other events on the weekend were also well patronized. The quilt show at the curling rink saw a steady flow of people Friday and Saturday.

The chamber of commerce sponsored meet and greet Friday evening featured a chili cook-off, former Miss Mermaids, a 1913 Overland car and 2013 Buick Encore and a well attended fashion show by Cobb’s Clothing, which took people through the changing and recurring styles of clothing during the past 100 years.

The drive-in movie at Canadian Tire had to be cancelled because of gusting winds which threatened the screen. It will be held June 28 at dusk instead.

The firefighters breakfast Saturday morning attracted about 850 people, according to Deputy Fire Chief Steve Scanland.

The Community Partners charity pie auction raised about $1,800. The highest bid was $450 for a strawberry rhubarb pie provided by Wendy Graham of Booster Juice.

Sunday morning’s pancake breakfast sponsored by Sylvan Lake & Area Community Partners Association at the Legion was well attended.

Next on the agenda for Dale and the Centennial committee are the Community Picnic by the lake in Centennial Park on Sept. 8 and planning for Sylvan’s participation in Alberta Art & Culture Days, Sept. 27-29.

See more parade photos and Centennial event coverage online and in this week’s edition of the Sylvan News.