Top: The Sam Steele Youth Ambassador Pageant is set for Friday

Top: The Sam Steele Youth Ambassador Pageant is set for Friday

Steely hot summer days

It’s on! Cranbrook’s great summer festival, the 50th edition of Sam Steele Days

This week’s weather may be dreary, but the sun is forecast to break through just in time for Cranbrook’s annual city-wide celebration, Sam Steele Days.

And rightly so, as the Key City always pulls out all the stops for the biggest party weekend of the year. This year marks the 50th time Sam Steele Days has been celebrated in Cranbrook, and it’s set to be bigger and better than ever.

“We are bringing it up to a new level,” said the Sam Steele Society’s Maureen Frank.

The weekend — which starts today, Thursday, June 19, and carries through to Sunday, June 22 — is jam-packed with events for all ages.

“Come out and celebrate together through sports, through games, food, music and art, through all of those things. We want the community to focus on what brings us together. There are very few financial barriers because everything is either low cost or no cost,” said Frank.

To mark the 50th celebration, there are some special events planned.

First up, today, the community will gather at the Cranbrook and District Chamber of Commerce to seal a time capsule that won’t be opened until 2039. The dedication ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. and will be attended by past and present chairs of the Sam Steele Society.

Then, on Saturday, see the Steele’s Scouts Commemorative Militia Cavalry, a band of Albertans with a keen interest in history who dress as the North West Mounted Police from Inspector Sam Steele’s era.

The Scouts will be a part of the parade on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. downtown. Then, at 12:30 p.m., they will put on a demonstration on Baker Street, before participating in an Inspection of the Guard at Rotary Park.

Another special event this year is the Wheels of Steele motocross event in Balment Park from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The free event will see motocross legends Dustin Arthur Greenall, Kyle Demelo, Jeff Fehr and Robert Haslem perform tricks.

Then there are the popular Sam Steele Days regular events we all know and love.

First up is four days of pancake breakfasts. On Thursday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., the Tamarack Centre is hosting the kick-off breakfast. On Friday, there are two options: Scotiabank on the strip from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., and Joseph Creek Village from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. On Saturday, head to Nutter’s on Baker Street for breakfast from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., and on Sunday, the Eagles will host breakfast in Rotary Park from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

For lunch on Friday, head to the corral barbecue at Royal LePage East Kootenay Realty downtown.

The festival grounds at Rotary Park swing into gear on Saturday where dozens of attractions will keep you busy. The fun starts with the Grand Parade through downtown Cranbrook between 10:30 a.m. and noon.

From 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Rotary Park will be packed with festival activities, including face painting, a climbing wall, an inflatable fun land and carnival games, balloon characters, go kart rides, an arts and craft show and market, the Taste of Cranbrook food court, and a community talent showcase.

Elsewhere downtown, see the Strongman competition from noon, and the logger show at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

The ever-popular weiner dog races will take place on 10th Avenue at 1 p.m., followed by server races outside Dewey’s at 1:30 p.m.

On Sunday, Rotary Park will gear up for another full day for Sunday in the Park from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with food and fun activities.

The kiddies parade through the park will take place at 11:30 a.m. At noon, little people can have tea with the Sam Steele Sweetheart candidates. See the moustache competition at 1 p.m., where prizes will be given for both real and homemade facial hair.

Then at 1:30 p.m., take part in the moustache treasure hunt in Rotary Park where hundreds of moustaches are hidden.

Throughout the weekend, evenings will be busy at the Festival Gardens at the Cranbrook Curling Centre.

Doors open at 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings, with tickets costing $15 on Friday and $20 on Saturday. Friday night will see performances by Devon Coyote and Split Tract.

On Saturday, catch Cranbrook’s very own talent the Good Ol’ Goats and Dewey, Cheatem and Howe.

For an evening with a different flavour, Friday is also the time for the Sam Steele Youth Ambassador Pageant, when Cranbrook will crown its 2014 Sweetheart and Princess. Tickets are $15 at the Key City Theatre.

Or you can try your luck at bingo, Friday and Saturday nights at the Eagles Hall from 5 p.m.

And it wouldn’t be Sam Steele Days without the legendary bocce and ball tournaments.

This year’s Sam Steele Ball Tournament will be going on Friday through Sunday at the Kinsmen Quads and Moir Park.

The Balls of Steele bocce tournament will be going all day on Saturday at Baker Park.

In other sporting events, there is the Kootenay East Youth Soccer Association tournament all day Saturday and Sunday for youth aged 13 to 18 at Moir Park; a beach volleyball tournament at the College of the Rockies on Thursday, Friday and Saturday; and a disc golf tournament at the course beside the College on Saturday evening.

For more details on Sam Steele Days sport, see here.

For a full calendar of events, visit www.samsteeledays.org or see the Townsman’s special Sam Steele Days supplement in the centre of today’s paper.

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