By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News
The countdown to Coaldale’s second annual Summer Fest event is on, with a packed itinerary for the Town’s two-day event.
With the grand opening of Coaldale’s new Civic Square earlier this year, Summer Fest 2023 will be the first large-scale community event to utilize the new infrastructure.
Known as “Settler Days,” prior to 2022, Coaldale’s main summer event underwent a wildly successful rebrand. The name change reflected concerns from some over whether connotations of colonialism should be revised as a gesture of reconciliation. Additionally, Town staff and council opted to approve the rebranding in late 2021 on the basis that the new dates of the Town’s summer event would reduce scheduling conflicts for popular programming such as the Coaldale Custom Cruisers Show and Shine.
Summer Fest 2023 will also feature regional musicians throwing down on stage as they compete in the Battle of the Bands contest on the ATCO stage. While this is sure to please music lovers, the brand new Town Stage will also host a variety of other live performances throughout the day.
The celebrations will kick off on Friday, August 11 with a movie projected in Millennium Park, behind the Sportsplex. Coaldale Town Council will be serving free pizza. The “Deez Eats” food cart will be onsite at 7 p.m. selling popcorn and other essential movie refreshments. The movie is scheduled to start between 8:30-9 p.m.
Activities will start back up on Saturday, Aug. 12, bright and early with a pancake breakfast fundraiser hosted by the Knights of Columbus from 8-10 a.m. Attendees over the age of majority will have the option to wash their pancakes down with a morning brew, once the Kinsmen Beer Gardens open at 10 a.m., but no rush if a breakfast beer isn’t your thing: the beer gardens will stay open until 11 p.m. The Coaldale Candy Parade will start its route at 11 a.m.
Candy parade participants are being encouraged to embrace this year’s Salute to Agriculture theme, in celebration of Coaldale’s historic and ongoing connections to agriculture. Coaldale’s Mayor, Jack Van Rijn expressed the Town’s thematic choice for 2023 was all about celebrating these connections.
“We’re proud of this history, and proud of our Town for continuing to embrace agriculture as part of its identity, which is ultimately why we decided to give Summer Fest 2023 the theme we did.”
“So much of our Town’s history is rooted in agriculture and to this day, much of our economy hinges on the continued expansion and success of the agricultural and agri-food processing industries,” Van Rijn said in a July 27 press release.
Attendees can also check out the Coaldale Custom Cruisers Show & Shine, visit the Domesticated Divas Open Air Market, and enjoy plenty of family-friendly games and activities, including:
• a Coaldale Food Bank BBQ from 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
• a petting zoo from 12 – 5 p.m.
• face painting and airbrush tattoo applications from 12 – 5 p.m.
• games, inflatables, and bouncy castles set up from 12 – 5 p.m.
Summer Fest 2023 will conclude with a fireworks display on the evening of Aug. 12.
The full itinerary can be accessed on the event site, https://www.coaldalesummerfest.ca/