Council got a chance to congratulate the Sweethearts of Sam Steele and the organizers behind the award winning float at last week’s council meeting.
Kelsey Ackert, Sweetheart of Sam Steele, was in front of council July 13 to introduce the Youth Ambassadors, and to talk about the award that the Cranbrook float won in the Stampede parade.
“We placed first in the municipal float category,” Ackert said. “It is exciting. This is the second time ever the sweethearts have won the float award, and it’s a huge parade, so that’s something very special for Cranbrook to win.”
Jim Wavercan, who organized the float, said this was an important achievement.
“This parade particularly brings home what the Sweetheart program does for the city,” Wavercan said. “Not only are we winners in the parade, but our Youth Ambassadors really are the catalyst that makes that happen.”
Wavercan explained that during the judgement of a parade, the judges circulate among all the floats, and the judges ask questions of the Youth Ambassadors.
“I can tell you that this year’s royalty nailed it, not only speaking about the float, and the significance of the float, and the 50 years of Heart, but of the city and what the program of the Youth Ambassadors does for the city and what Cranbrook is all about,” he said. “That’s what wins in that parade, so hats off to our royalty because they really brought it home for us.”
Wavercan brought the plaque and the ribbon to show mayor and council.
Mayor Lee Pratt was pleased.
“That’s certainly an achievement for our little town Cranbrook,” Pratt said. “I know that literally hundreds of thousands of people watch that parade live and I don’t know how many people watch it on TV, but I’m sure in the scheme of things it’s well over a million people, so that’s great exposure.”
Wavercan said there are 2-300,000 people on the parade route and the Youth Ambassadors wave the whole time.
“So their arms were tired at the end of it,” he said. “And there are over a million, on TV, watching what’s going on.”
In addition to that the visits to their Facebook page have skyrocketed up to 10,800 people.
Then there was also a radio interview on CBC.
Pratt noted that the city does sponsor through some grants.
“It’s good to know that it’s money well spent,” he said.
Pratt also noted that he had some involvement with the pageant this year and the Sweetheart Ball.
“I was amazed at all the candidates and the talent and I know it’s a very good program,” Pratt said, adding that when he spoke to Wavercan prior to Sam Steele Days he knew that there were going to be some long nights ahead for him to get that float up and running. “It was an exceptional float and you did a great job.”
Wavrecan also noted that his Granddaughter helped him to design the float.
“My granddaughter Amber is the artistic one so she and I sit down each year and design the float,” he said. “I draw a stick replica of what the float should look like and she makes it look real with her art. Her artists rendition of the float was submitted to Calgary for approval. So back in February we have to do that in order to be allowed into the parade.”
Pratt also noted that Ackert must have done an amazing job representing Cranbrook as well, and thanked her for that.
Coun. Isaac Hockley congratulated Ackert and the other Ambassadors. Hockley took photos at the pageant.
“This year was outstanding,” Hockley said. “I can’t wait for you buys to see the photos.”
Coun. Danielle Cardozo thanked Wavercan and all those involved for all their volunteer time.
“We know what kind of volunteer time goes into something like this, so for yourself Kelsey, and everybody who we don’t have in front of us today, you need to pass on our genuine ‘thank you’,” Cardozo said. “This is important to developing our sense of community and you’ve done an excellent job this year.”
Wavercan added that one of the questions the judges asked him was: did you think you were going to win?
“My comment was: we had former royalty from years back, we had their parents, we had volunteers coming out of the woodwork that wanted to be a part of this,” he said. “If Karma has anything to do with winning, we were going to win. The volunteers that we have tremendous and it’s ongoing.”
Pratt also noted that longtime Sweethearts organizer Karin Penner was sitting in the council audience.
“Karin I know you’ve been a big part of this throughout all the years, right from the the inception of it, and on behalf of council and staff and myself, a big thank you to you too,” Pratt said.