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Model T club to roll into Fort Macleod

Close to 100 vintage Model T Fords will cruise the streets of Fort Macleod on Canada Day.
Members of the Foothills Model T Ford Club of Calgary will be in town July 1 as part of the 2011 “Cowboys and Coal Mines Model T Tour.”
“This would be a very cool event,” Fort Macleod Mayor Shawn Patience said. “Having 100 Model Ts in town would add to Canada Day.”
Council on Feb. 14 gave approval in principle to the club’s request to park on Main Street for a show ‘n’ shine.
The club proposes to park on Main Street from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on July 1, and then in the afternoon stage a 1920s-style rally in an as yet undetermined location.
The Foothills club asked council to approve closing Main Street to other vehicle traffic for four hours July 1, as well as the use of a large grass field in the afternoon.
“This is a unique, memorable and fun way for Fort Macleod to enhance our existing Canada Day celebrations and plans, and is in keeping with our historic character,” Town of Fort Macleod economic development officer Martin Ebel wrote in a report to council.
Council learned the Model T club will not charge any fees for the show ‘n’ shine or the rally, and will have sufficient liability insurance.
“Properly promoted, this could enhance visitation to Fort Macleod for Canada Day, and enhance participation in the festivities from both residents and visitors to Fort Macleod alike,” Ebel added. “This could lead to enhanced business for local merchants.”
Ebel added the event could attract considerable media coverage that would reflect well on Fort Macleod.
“Fort Macleod could position itself as a festive community that values its history, but is also creative with it and has fun with it,” Ebel added. “We can promote and expose ourselves as a destination, which would build on existing promotional efforts.”
Coun. Susan Koots said it will be important to consult Fort Macleod businesss before any plans are finalized.
“I think it would be wise for Martin to approach each of the businesses on Main Street,” Koots said to determine whether they support Main Street being closed on July 1. “I think it would be great and Main Street would be the perfect place for it.”
Coun. Sharan Randle noted the Model T club made a number of requests of the town, including the grass field for the rally, portable bleachers, pylons, public parking area, a concession stand, washrooms and a public address system.
“I think when they come to town it’s a great thing,” Randle said. “But there is a limit to what we can supply.”
“I think the downtown portion is totally feasible,” Randle added. “The extra portion is more than we can handle without some participation from this group.”
Patience suggested there might be a Fort Macleod group that wants to get involved to support the Model T club, and operate a concession stand as a fund-raiser.
“It would be great if there was a group that could grab onto this,” Patience said.
Council decided to give the event approval in principle so planning and discussions can continue.

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