Elkhorn Homecoming & Western Weekend happening on August 4 to 7
May 24, 2023, 9:25 am
Sierra D'Souza Butts
On the August long weekend, the community of Elkhorn will be hosting their annual Western Weekend event in addition to this year’s Elkhorn Homecoming.
The last homecoming the community held was almost 15 years ago. In preparation for the huge event, various clubs and organizations in Elkhorn have been working together to help with the long list of events happening from August 4 to 7.
“We have a really good itinerary for the weekend,” said Wenda Paton, president of the Elkhorn Homecoming Committee.
“It’s going to be the same weekend the Elks are having the Western Weekend so they’ll have the chuckwagon and chariots going for the Saturday and Sunday. That’s really helped us, every organization has been really good jumping in and helping out.
“On the Friday night, we have a street carnival hosted by the Elkhorn Chamber of Commerce. They’ll have games and music, as well as street vendors that night too.
“We also have a Historical Tour of the Graveyard, Lisa Bartley is putting that on. It’s just going to be a walk through the graveyard to talk about the people who started Elkhorn from the beginning. That’s happening on Friday and Saturday.
“The fire department is hosting the pancake breakfast on Saturday and Sunday morning. We’ll have opening ceremonies on Main Street too.
“We have Kendra Kay, one of our own, doing a concert and dance on the Saturday night. We’re really excited about having Kendra.
“We’re having the street dance and fireworks on Main Street on Sunday as the closing of our homecoming.
“We’ve got Teddy Bear picnics, we’ve got laser tag, we’ve got strawberry socials.
“For Western Weekend, the Elks also have slow pitch going on for family teams and anyone else that wants to play. They’ll have a food booth and entertainment down there too.
“We have a jam packed weekend combined with the Western Weekend. We’re really excited about it.”
Around 1,500 people came out during the last homecoming Elkhorn held. Paton said all of the volunteers and groups in the community have been working hard in support of the weekend event.
“There’s 15 people on the committee and each person helps with their own group for the event,” said Paton.
“For instance, Kim Mitchell of the EDCC, they’re putting on the dance so she goes to the meetings and tells us what’s going on, and what they need.
“It’s been good that way because it just hasn’t been the core committee trying to do everything. We’re responsible for the street dance and the fireworks, the beer gardens and some of that stuff, but the Elks are doing the Western Weekend, the EDC is doing the Kendra Kay dance, the Chamber is doing the carnival.
“Each group has taken something on. The graduating class of 2024 is doing Cold Plate Supper on the Saturday night, then we’re bringing in Merv’s Pitchfork Fondue for supper on Sunday. He’s doing that because we wanted to give our volunteers a break.
“Everyone’s involved in two or three different committees, hats off to all of them, they’ve really worked. We called a meeting, everyone came out and everyone just jumped right in so it’s been really good.”
Challenges for contacting people for homecoming
Paton said it has been hard for the Elkhorn Homecoming Committee to track down people who are from the community, but no longer live in Elkhorn.
“The biggest problem the homecoming committee is having is getting in touch with people,” she said.
“From the last time we had homecoming to this time, people have gotten rid of their landlines so we can’t get in contact with them or they’ve changed addresses. Some people are not on Facebook or social media so it’s hard to contact them.
“That’s our biggest problem right now. We’re still trying to reach out to try and let people know that this is going on, but it’s been very difficult. That’s been the hardest part about organizing this whole homecoming.”
She said the committee has tried to come up with different strategies on how to get a hold of people and get the word out about the upcoming event.
“We’ve asked people to contact people. What we have done is anyone who we have emails for, we emailed them,” said Paton.
“Anyone that we have phone addresses of, we mailed information out, I think I got 250 back that didn’t reach people. Some of them may be deceased too because it has been at least 15 years since the first big homecoming we had so things have happened in those years.
“I think the biggest thing is that people have downsized or moved, and some people aren’t on social media so it’s just word of mouth and that’s why we decided to do advertising to try to get the word out so people can pass that on.
“That’s been the hardest part is trying to let people know because it’s not just a class reunion where you’re getting 20 people, you’re dealing with people that lived in Elkhorn years ago. Some of these people are 93 years old or 100 years old, down to the young ones who were just born.”
Paton spoke about why the homecoming committee decided to host the event in partnership with the Elks during Western Weekend.
“The Elks have always had that weekend for Western Weekend, and it just worked out that way to have homecoming then,” she said.
“One other time we did have it with Western Weekend too. It just gives people more things to do, but it is really hard on the small committee because everyone’s a member of more than one group.
“There’s people that are involved in the Western Weekend with the Elks who may also be involved with the Chamber or the Elkhorn District Community Centre (EDCC). It’s really hard on our volunteers, but they’ve all been really super good about jumping in and doing what they can.”
Registering for the event helps planning stages, says committee
People interested in attending the event can fill out registration forms available on the committee’s Facebook page: Elkhorn Homecoming 2023.
The homecoming committee said the registration fees help them have an estimate of how much food to provide during the Homecoming and Western Weekend, as well as how many washroom facilities.
“The registration is just so we know how many washrooms to get, to know how many people we are feeding, how much food we’ll need in Elkhorn,” said Paton.
“Because we are a small community it does help if our committee has some numbers to work off of.”
People can contact members from the Elkhorn Homecoming Committee at: email@example.com if they have any further questions about the events.