It’s going to be a busy week in the area, with the RCMP Musical Ride in Wawota Tuesday, and both the Living Skies Come Alive Fireworkds Competition and Wawota Heritage Days this weekend.
RCMP Musical Ride
The RCMP Musical Ride is coming to Wawota on Tuesday, July 28, and organizers are expecting over 2,000 people to attend for an evening of activities and entertainment.
The ride itself will be at 7 p.m., but doors will open at 4 p.m. and there will be plenty to do and see leading up to the ride.
The evening will include entertainment, music, and children’s events, including bounce tents, before the ride. There will also be a number of food vendors on location serving up delicious food that evening.
The event will be held north of the school, at the edge of the valley, where the valley forms a natural amphitheater.
At the conclusion of the ride, the riders and their horses will be available for a meet and greet, where audience members can also pose for a photo with them.
A barbecue for the riders and the general public will be held following the show, and organizers are hoping people will stick around to enjoy the food and musical entertainment that evening during the barbecue. There will also be beer gardens on site.
“We’ve got music, we’ve got bouncy castles, we’ve got the local fire department and RCMP bringing out cars,” said Shannon Houff, one of the organizers of the event. “We have a little bit of a car show going on, we have a beer gardens and a barbecue in the evening. We also have lots of food vendors as part of the evening as well.”
According to Houff a lot of work goes into putting the musical ride on.
“It’s a huge undertaking,” said Houff. “It’s something that we want to do a good job of so it takes time and pride. We want to do a good job so it takes a lot of time. There are at least 50-75 volunteers for the day.”
The musical ride last came to Wawota twenty five years ago and performed for a crowd of about 2,000 people.
“We’d certainly like 2,000-3,000” said Houff. “That would be fabulous.”
“We are fundraising for an outdoor community kitchen and new memorial gardens, and pathway,” said Houff. “We don’t have a fundraising goal. Our goal is to have a great time, raise some money for a community gathering spot, and to show the pride in our community.”
The RCMP Musical Ride is a Canadian tradition that dates back to the late 1800s. It is performed by a full troop of 32 riders and horses, plus the member in charge. The Musical Ride consists of the execution of a variety of intricate figures and cavalry drills choreographed to music.
Living Skies Fireworks Competition
The sixth annual “Living Skies Come Alive” fireworks competition is being held August 1 and 2.
Two fireworks teams out of Winnipeg and Regina, Paradise Fireworks and Canadian Pyro Limited, will perform fireworks shows along with music each night.
“We hold this competition every year because it’s gained a lot of popularity,” said Michele Shaw, who is on the Moosomin Regional Park Board. “It’s something that allows us to raise a little bit of money for the park every year.”
Along with the fireworks, a full weekend of events is lined up.
“The fireworks competition is our big thing,” said Shaw. “But we’ve got bouncy toys, games for the kids, there’s a flea market on Sunday, and then we have beer gardens. And of course the store is going to be serving a supper both nights. There are also going to be pontoon boat rides from 2-5 on both Saturday and Sunday. This is great for if anybody wants to see the lake or has never been out on the lake, they’ll get to see it from a different angle.
We have a DJ that will be playing music and then SaskPower is going to have a display, an interactive display about power and different uses of power.”
According to Shaw, there are well over 100 volunteers who take part in the weekend, along with the paid staff, and the park can always use more volunteers. “Parking alone is a huge thing, because we want people to have a positive experience getting in and out of the park.”
Anyone interested in volunteering their time can contact the park office.
The annual Living Skies Come Alive fireworks competition is attended by thousands of people every year. This fireworks event has become a holiday destination for many families. The spectators have an exceptional view of the pyromusical fireworks display.
“We get tons of really positive comments,” said Shaw. “We had a lot of comments last year about the parking, people got out of the park easily. As of right now, Wyatt at the park office is probably taking anywhere from 10 to 15 phone calls a day just about the fireworks.”
“For the whole weekend we probably have anywhere between 10,000 and 15,000 people,” said Shaw. “The visitors come from a lot of different places. We’ve had visitors from every province. We had Maritimers last year, we’ve had people from Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and B.C., as well as some Americans. People stop in if they’re on holidays or are passing through and they hear about it. We’ve got tons of people who are booking their campsites in March for August long.”
“We put an astronomical amount of time into organizing the weekend,” said Shaw. “All of our volunteers put in easily more than 100 hours each, and that’s not counting the weekend. Most people probably have no idea how much organization it takes. Not only do we have to have the park ready, to have that many people in the park there are a lot of other things we need to do that are different, so that takes on maintenance tasks, the maintenance workers work longer hours and we even hire a few extra people to help with that. Even our regular park staff are working extra hours to accommodate people for that weekend.”
Shaw says that by now the organization for the weekend is mostly under control. “We’re still collecting sponsors, the biggest job right now is to set up. As far as the weekend happening we’ve got it under control. It’s just the set up, and then the tear down is the other big thing.”
The fireworks competition is a big fund-raiser for the park.
“The park doesn’t do any fundraising,” said Shaw. “But every year we’ve got more and more expenses that we need to try to cover. Every little bit helps. That’s how we got part of our playground structure and we’ve done some other improvements to the park based on that money that we’ve raised.”
Wawota Heritage Days
This weekend will be Wawota’s annual Heritage Days.
“This year they have added a trading card swap meet,” said Kathy Hamilton, one of the organizers of the weekend. “That’s supposed to be a huge thing for the children. There’s also a horseshoe event. There are other events like skateboarding and paintball that were there last year as well.”
The weekend starts off with a pancake breakfast at 8 a.m. on Saturday at Wawota Town Hall. Following breakfast there will be an arts and crafts exhibition, a special exhibit at the Wawota Museum, and a parade through town. In the afternoon there will be horseshoes, the Taste of Wawota event, a dunk tank, a trading card swap, a show ‘n shine/couple’s driving challenge, a kids carnival and petting zoo, paintball and BMX bike events, and 20 and 50 year class reunions.
At 6:00 p.m. there will be a supper, silent auction, musical entertainment, and beer gardens at the ball diamonds, followed by a fireworks show.
On Sunday, the day will start off with an interdenominational church service in the Centennial Memorial Park at 11 a.m., followed by a potluck lunch.
There will then be a high tea and dessert at the Wawota Town Hall along with a small concert group of the Regina Mandolin Orchestra.
At 8:30 p.m. there will be a Cabaret at the Forum hosted by the Wawota Lions Club.
“The parade is usually a highlight of the weekend,” said Hamilton. “There are a lot of entries. The kids’ carnival and petting zoo down at the school grounds, they have all sorts of kids’ games and bouncy castles, and facepainting, so that is really quite popular. On Sunday there’s a mandolin group that comes out of Regina, and they’re going to perform for a high tea in the Hall on Sunday afternoon. The high tea orchestra is pretty phenomenal if you’re into that kind of music.”
According to Hamilton, having the RCMP Musical Ride during the same week as Heritage Days is helpful in promoting the weekend’s events.
“We’re really hoping that it does help because we’re finding that it’s attracting a lot of people to Wawota and people are trying to stay over and do some camping,” said Hamilton. “From what we can see, it’s helping not just Wawota, but there are people pulling into Kenosee and Moosomin Lake that are coming for both events. So I think that the Musical Ride has actually been quite beneficial for a lot of the camping and surrounding communities.”
Last year, the Heritage Days attracted a little less than 2,000 people.
“This year we’re looking at 2,000 which is what we’re expecting and hoping. It would be just a little more than last year’s count,” said Hamilton.