Sylvan’s Centennial year to be welcomed with several events Jan. 1

A name change, bonfire and brightly lit skies will welcome Sylvan Lake’s Centennial year.

A name change, bonfire and brightly lit skies will welcome Sylvan Lake’s Centennial year.

Planning has been underway for about two years for a year that promises to be filled with spectacular events and activities. The first of these will take place on Tuesday, January 1.

To begin the year, the town is officially designating its historic main street as Centennial Street at an official unveiling ceremony that takes place at 3 p.m. at the intersection of Lakeshore Drive and 50th Street.

Then residents and visitors are invited to enjoy the first fire in the Centennial Park fire pit at 6 p.m., complete with complimentary hot chocolate and treats. There will also be a free draw for Centennial items provided by Sylvan Lake Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Sylvan Lake.

The final town-organized event of the day will be a fireworks display which is certain to awe spectators in the manner many past displays have amazed and entertained. The display begins at 7 p.m. and those viewing are asked to stay a minimum of 500 metres away from the firing area on the pier.

The events are being hosted by the Town of Sylvan Lake, Sylvan Lake Centennial Celebrations Task Force and First Sylvan Lake Cubs and Scouts.

The same day, from 1-5 p.m., the Sylvan Lake branch of the Royal Canadian Legion is continuing its traditional President’s Levée.

President Steve Dills and members of the Legion will be at the branch on 50th Avenue to welcome people with moose milk and clam chowder during the afternoon of food, drink and camaraderie.

The Levée has evolved from early Canadian fur trading days into an occasion to call upon representatives of the sovereign, military, and municipal governments, to exchange New Year’s greetings and best wishes for the coming year, to renew old acquaintances and meet new friends in a convivial atmosphere.

Moose milk is a tradition dating back to the earliest levées in Canada when wine, which didn’t travel well, was doctored with alcohol and spices and heated. The concoction came to be known as “Le Sang du Caribou”, or moose blood. Under British colonial rule whiskey was substituted for the basic ingredient of wine then flavoured with goat’s milk, nutmeg and cinnamon to produce an Anglicized version called moose milk.

Today’s version of moose milk, in addition to whiskey (or rum) and spices, uses a combination of eggnog and ice cream and sometimes an additional alcoholic refinement or two.

Everyone’s invited to stop in and exchange greetings of the new year.

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