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Macleod residents urged to back Alberta Arts Days

Alberta Arts Days

Fort Macleod Allied Arts Council president Maria Rishea with Alberta Culture Minister Lindsay Blackett. Fort Macleod will host an Alberta Arts Days feature celebration on Sept. 30 to Oct. 2.

The province is urging Fort Macleod residents to support the Alberta Arts Days celebration Sept. 30-Oct. 2.
Culture Minister Lindsay Blackett and Municipal Affairs Minister Hector Goudreau wrote council to urge Fort Macleod to embrace its role as a host site.
“Hosting an Alberta Arts Days event is a wonderful opportunity to foster relationships, strengthen community spirit and showcase local talents,” the ministers wrote in a letter to council. “We hope you will encourage your citizens to participate and help facilitate events that showcase the achievements of your community.”
The Allied Arts Council of Fort Macleod submitted a bid for Fort Macleod to become one of five feature celebration sites, involving groups such as the Empress Theatre Society and The Fort — Museum of the North West Mounted Police in the bid.
The province is putting $375,000 into planning the free, family-oriented arts celebrations in 49 communities.
Other winning feature celebration bids were submitted by Creative Airdrie Society, Calgary Public Libraries, Blue Quills First Nations College in St. Paul and the Arts and Culture Council of Strathcona County.
“The goal is once again to ensure all Albertans have access to a wide range of cultural experiences,” Blackett and Goudreau told council.
Allied Arts spent a month developing a plan and budget for the Fort Macleod celebration, and getting other groups on board.
“Fort Macleod Steps Back to 1874” begins Friday, Sept. 30 with exhibits by local artists in downtown stores. People will have a chance to win prizes in a scavenger hunt involving the artists’ displays.
At 12 noon at The Fort — Museum of the North West Mounted Police there will be a re-enactment of an 1874 meeting between Col. James Macleod, scout Jerry Potts and Blackfoot Chief Crowfoot.
Following the re-enactment there will be demonstrations at the Fort Museum by blacksmiths, wheelwrights, leathersmiths, quilters and other old-time craftspeople.
At 2 p.m. the Empress Theatre will offer a free screening of “The Lone Ranger” starring Roy Rogers.
A live band will play Ragtime music from 2-6 p.m. on Main Street.
The first day of the celebration wraps up at 8 p.m. at the community hall with a family hoe down at which people must dress western or risk going to jail.
There will be square dance lessons at the hoe down, along with sasparilla.
A Hutterite breakfast will be served at 8 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 1 at the 1884 North West Mounted Police Barracks provincial historic site. There will be tours of the site, featuring mini dramas played out by actors.
The demonstrations by old-time craftspeople continue from 12 noon to 5 p.m. at The Fort — Museum of the North West Mounted Police.
From 12 noon to 5 p.m. on Main Street there will be black powder demonstrations, along with a shootout with whisky traders.
People will also have the chance to meet Col. James Macleod, Chief Crowfoot and Jerry Potts.
A free shuttle bus will take people to Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump from Fort Macleod to learn about First Nations history.
At 7 p.m. there will be a live main stage event at the Empress Theatre featuring can-can dancers, Vaudeville acts, plays, First Nations dancing, the Red Coats play and belly dancing.
An ecumenical church service at the 1884 North West Mounted Police Barracks provincial historic site starts the activities at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 2.
An old-fashioned family picnic will take place from 12 noon to 4 p.m. at the barracks site, with people encouraged to bring their own picnic lunches.
There will be a pie auction conducted by the church ladies, banjo music, hot dogs and root beer for sale, dancing to old-time fiddle music, three-legged races, tug ‘o’ wars and gunny sack races.
“Efforts to co-ordinate that are under way right now,” Town of Fort Macleod municipal manager Barry Elliott told council.
Anyone interested in getting involved in the celebration can contact Allied Arts executive director Carmen Drapeau at 403-557-2443 or

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