The Cardboard Boat Race will kick off Canada 150 at Maiden Lake on Canada Day at 11 a.m. Free Press file

Five things to know about Canada 150 in Fernie

Canada Day in Fernie used to be a relatively quiet affair.

But over the last 16 years organizer Sharon Switzer and other City of Fernie staff have turned it into a major observance complete with vast and varied happenings.

Taking it all in will be an incredible task so we’ve compiled a list of five things you need to know about celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday in Fernie.

Number one, this is going to be the biggest and best Canada Day celebration that Fernie has ever seen.

They’ll start with the Elks Cardboard Boat Race on Maiden Lake at 11 a.m., as they usually do, and following that there’ll be entertainment all day at the Fernie Aquatic Centre.

There’ll be a Mountain Market at noon, the singing of O Canada at 1 p.m., the Annual Bike and Pet Parade at 1:15 p.m. and cake and refreshments at 1:30 p.m.

A kid’s bike race is scheduled for 2 p.m., dog agility demonstrations are scheduled for 3 p.m. and the Steve Nash Basketball program is holding an all-day 3-on-3 basketball tournament.

Organizers are not doing away with the usual schedule of events but expect more of everything, and on a grander scale.

“We’re pulling out all the stops,” said Switzer. “(Lloyd Smith, director of Leisure Services) has given us the green light and away we go.”

Number two, bring a swimsuit. July 1 will be the grand reopening of the Fernie Aquatic Centre and there’ll be free swimming from 2 to 5 p.m. The Splash Park will also be open.

Number three, the Canada 150 projects Fernie locals have been working on will be recognized and celebrated. Expect to see portraits from photographer Kyle Hamilton’s I Am Fernie project or samples from the Youth Identity Project set up on the grounds of the Aquatic Centre.

Number four, there will be a focus on local artists and entertainers. Erin Frances and The Due Clause Trio will be the feature band but the city has lined up about nine other local acts who will be performing every hour or so.

Music from local artists will accompany the fireworks.

And speaking of fireworks.

Number five, the fireworks will light up the sky starting at dusk at The Aquatic Centre and they are going to be spectacular. The city has increased its fireworks budget by about a third for this year’s show. Expect a lot of bang for your buck from Calgary’s Big Bang Fireworks. So come out, spread a blanket, remember to bring ear protection for the little ones and prepare to be blown away.

It’s also not too late to get involved. The city is inviting any individual or business that wants to participate by running or sponsoring an event to do so.

“The more the merrier,” said Switzer.

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