Sam Steele Days gets funding

Sam Steele Days is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2014, and the annual celebration will get a boost with $4,300 from the feds.

Sam Steele Days is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2014, and the annual celebration in Cranbrook will get a boost with $4,300 from the federal government.

Kootenay Columbia MP David Wilks announced the funding on Tuesday, November 12.

“The annual Sam Steele Days festival has become one of the region’s most highly anticipated events,” said Wilks. “Celebrations like this are not only a source of civic pride, but they also stimulate the economy and provide support for local tourism.”

The grant was made available to the Sam Steele Society through the Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage program of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Next year’s 50th anniversary of Sam Steele Days will be held from June 19 to 22. About 20,000 people are expected to attend the Cranbrook-wide celebration.

“The dedicated volunteers and organizers of the Sam Steele Society of Cranbrook are pleased to receive support from the Department of Canadian Heritage,” said Laura Kennedy, treasurer of the Sam Steele Society. “The Sam Steele Days festival has contributed greatly to our community by providing exposure to local artists and artisans, fun family activities, competitive sporting events, increased economic vitality, as well as rewarding opportunities through the ambassador program.”

The event is named after Superintendent Sam Steele of the North West Mounted Police, who was brought to Fort Steele in the late 1800s to stub out crime in the Gold Rush community near Cranbrook.

His name itself resonates and the history he brought to the valley is something we should never forget.

“Sam Steele resonates throughout Canada as one of the great Canadians,” said Wilks. “The history he brought to the valley is something we should never forget.”

He commended organizers of Sam Steele Days for growing the festival over half a century.

“Fifty years is a huge achievement and all of the volunteers and organizers should be very proud of that,” said Wilks.